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The Hardcore Self Help Podcast
42 minutes | 5 days ago
Episode 247: Health Anxiety During a Pandemic & Suicidality in Children
Hello, friends. In this episode, I offer my advice on two very important questions. The first examines approaches to help combat health anxiety during the pandemic, while the second looks at how you can support a child who is experiencing suicidal thoughts. Hello Doctor Duff! I am writing to you from Norway. I have been diagnosed with health anxiety about 2 years ago and since then I have been trying various methods of attacking the problem. I feel I finally have a good therapist that specializes in CBT and I am making some progress, however we both find the current situation particularly challenging when it comes to the exposure aspect to therapy. While my country has done fairly well in the pandemic there are still a lot of regulations and advisories on what to do and not do. Since my current fears center around getting the coronavirus we have a lot of trouble coming up with good exposure methods that by themselves do not expose me to the virus. I would love to hear your thought on the above and general handling health anxiety in the setting of global pandemic. Good question – I have definitely had to be creative with my own patients in exposure work during this period of time. I think that this is one of those circumstances where a reasonable amount of caution is actually helpful and adaptive. You are going to have to discuss the science and the current guidelines with your therapist and decide what your level of tolerance is at an intellectual level and allow that to guide your behavior. Some of this depends on what your baseline for health anxiety is – is it triggered by hearing about the virus? If so, you can use media as an exposure starting point. You can also use imagined exposure. When it comes to developing a hierarchy for exposure, you can start with things that are logically very low risk. You can go to an outdoor area and wear a mask. This will give you the chance to start acclimating to being near other people. As with all exposure exercises, you don’t want to try to move too fast. The point is to focus on having enough repetition and duration in your activities that they become boring. Then you can move up to the next step. I guide you through creating a courage ladder in the course. Hopefully, you will be able to get vaccinated soon if you haven’t yet. That will make a massive difference. You will know that your risk of contracting COVID is super low and that your risk of serious disease is even lower. Basically, these things allow you to have the intellectual justification for engaging with the exposure exercises. Then the next step is trying to get your body to catch up. You need enough rationale to get you out the door, then it comes to repetition and the cognitive work that you are doing in therapy. Everyone will have some degree of reacclimating to do when it comes to public situations. Even vaccinated, I still nope out what I see big crowds of people. So it’s okay if you do this gradually. Another really important aspect to consider is exposure work that has nothing directly to do with the virus. I’m talking about internal or interoceptive exposure. Really, it’s not always the thought of the medical situation that we are avoiding, it’s the physical anxiety symptoms that come along with thinking about it. In other words, you are going to avoid situations or thoughts that make you feel panicky, sick to your stomach, tight in the chest etc. This is absolutely something that you can build a tolerance to on your own. There are a ton of techniques that are common like doing jumping jacks, spinning around, breathing through a straw, etc. to help you simulate the feelings of panic and learn how to work through them rather than escaping. This along with general anxiety coping skills like a well-trained deep breathing exercise will give you the tools you need to endure the anxiety that you predictably will feel when you are engaging with the world. Focusing on your physical health, sleep, and all that other stuff remains important as well. That gives you a bit of a “wellness buffer” rather than just jumping into an anxiety-inducing scenario open like a raw nerve. Another aspect that you may want to discuss with your therapist is response prevention. This is a technique that comes from OCD treatment. There is a good chance that your anxiety about covid and other health issues causes you to “check” compulsively. Maybe it’s taking your temperature or googling your symptoms. There are techniques that you can work on to delay that checking and eventually avoid it entirely. The idea here is that you are not giving in and letting your anxiety dictate your behavior. If you are on medications, there is always the possibility of upping them for this period of time for some extra support while you work through this difficult roadblock. Lastly, you may also want to spend some time reflecting, in therapy and on your own, about things that have nothing to do with the virus. For instance, connecting no passions and clarifying your values can be a great guiding light. Rather than simply trying to avoid or reduce symptoms, you can frame things more positively and strive to live a life that is more in line with your values. Focus on what you enjoy and love rather than what you want to get away from. So those are my thoughts for you. This might take some time, but it’s totally doable. I think by balancing directly challenging your catastrophic thoughts as you are probably doing in therapy, and just letting them hang out in the background, you can start inching toward a life that you are more okay with. Hi Robert Podcast question – A friends young daughter who is 6 has been struggling with suicidal thoughts (she is getting psychiatric help). As someone who struggles with suicidal thoughts and a history of attempts, I want to reach out with the mom’s permission of course, and be there to listen to the child but not sure if that would be more harmful to show more people have thoughts like that or show her she’s not alone. Would love to hear your perspective Thanks very much This is a great question. It’s also important to recognize that suicidal thoughts do happen in kids even if you hear about them less. I think it’s amazing that you want to be there as a resource to your friend and their daughter. Talking to mom is absolutely the first step here. Even just speaking to your friend about your own experiences or answering any questions she has can be very helpful. I’ve had a lot of people come to me to get advice about how to talk to their kids about things. For instance, a friend of mine had a suicide in the family that was unexpected and had no idea how to talk to their teens about it. Sometimes simply having some support as a parent to normalize how difficult it is and how you don’t have to be perfect in how you handle it can be such a help. When it comes to talking with the kiddo about it, I think at age 6, the way you discuss it will vary quite a bit from kid to kid. At this age, there very well may be other factors that are directly causing the suicidality rather than just major depression or a mood disorder like that. Is there bullying going on? Family discord? You can relate to them about knowing how it feels to feel stuck like you don’t know what to do, or like you want it all just to go away. I know these seem like big topics to talk to a kid about and they are. But it’s important. You don’t have to be explicit, but having even one person that they know they can talk to can make all the difference in the world. This isn’t the sort of thing that you need to worry about bringing more attention to. A lot of people will tiptoe around issues like this, which can make the kid feel like they did something wrong and that they are weird or broken in some way. Normalizing that a lot of people have a hard time and that there are ways to get through it and ways to find support rather than just giving up can go a long way in making the kiddo feel like they aren’t crazy. If you are close to this family, you might also see about setting up a regular check-in. You know something like going to get their favorite fast food meal or a treat every couple of weeks to make sure they are doing okay and that they have the opportunity to talk to you if they want to. With young kids like this, you may not be able to just have a straight grown-up conversation with them. It depends on their personality and development. But even if you basically get the kid’s permission to talk to them for a little bit about what they are going through is important and that you are there for them and they aren’t very interactive, that’s still okay. A lot of times kids are more able to express themselves through play. They don’t have the same brain development that you do. So simply spending time with them and engaging with them on their level will open the door for them to ask you questions or tell you things that are important in this situation. Here’s how I might open the conversation: “Hey, kiddo. Your mom told me that you have been having a bit of a hard time lately, is that true? Well you know I have a hard time sometimes too and I definitely had a hard time when I was a kid. Do you want to tell me what’s been so hard for you?” From there they might describe in their own way or they might be shy and just go “I don’t know”. If they don’t know, you can say, “I know it’s hard to know what to say. That’s okay! I was wondering if we could play for a little while and I could tell you about what I’ve learned as I’ve grown up.” Then I’d probably start with explaining that it’s normal to not feel happy all the time. That it can be hard to know how to make bad feelings go away. That they aren’t weird for having these feelings. Then talk about how there are other things that can be done to help with the feelings and that talking about what is hard in life helps too. Just like I’d want to reassure the parent that they don’t have to be perfect in their approach to addressing this, I’d want to reassure you of the same thing. Being there is the most important part. This was sent a little while back, so I hope that things are going well now. Thank you for the great question! Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Cozy Earth and Better Help. Cozy Earth manufactures the world’s softest bedding, guaranteed. Using responsibly sourced bamboo, they make sheets, duvet covers, comforters, pillowcases, and more. They also make it super easy to try out their products with a 30-day free trial! Right now they are offering my listeners an incredible 40% off via their website, cozyearth.com, with code DUFFPODCAST. If you are in a mental health slump, consider reaching out to a licensed professional to help. Better Help has a large counselor network and you can begin chatting with someone very quickly. Check out betterhelp.com/duff to get 10% off your first month. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 247: Health Anxiety During a Pandemic & Suicidality in Children appeared first on Duff The Psych.
40 minutes | 12 days ago
Episode 246: Are Trauma Details Necessary in Therapy & Supporting Someone with BPD
Hello, friends! In this episode, I answer two super important questions relating to whether it is necessary to talk about trauma details in depth in therapy, the worry of upsetting your therapist, and supporting someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. Back story: someone had a friend that they lost touch with. In the meantime they had a problematic relationship. When they reunited with the friend, their friend pointed out that they had experienced sexual abuse and manipulation in this relationship. I started going to therapy in November, because I was feeling really shitty and suicidal, and my friend kinda talked me into it. I love my therapist, he’s phenomenal, and super patient and kind! He is aware of some of the very basics of what happened between me and my ex, but I have a really hard time even talking about it at all, and I seriously struggle to be emotionally vulnerable in general. I start to panic if I feel tears coming in session and tend to crack a joke and try to talk about something else, but my friend has told me that she thinks I should tell him the specifics of what happened and the ways it’s impacting me now. The question: Does he really need to know specifics to help me process and move on from it? I’m really worried about upsetting him or making him uncomfortable, or feel like I’m using him to vent or whatever. I don’t know I’m just very stressed I don’t want to over share. I try really hard to be upbeat in session and make it a fairly pleasant conversation instead of emotionally draining. Also, I just really fucking don’t want to talk about it, or think about it, because I didn’t even realize that there was anything abusive happening in the relationship until I started talking to my friend about it. It makes me super panicky and I get really strong urges to self harm or unalive myself. Thank you for writing in. This is a super important question, I think. Good job getting out of the relationship and getting into therapy. Your friend was right for pushing you in that direction. You are on the right track. First off, let me talk a little bit about trauma. As Dr. Copley said on episode 167 of the podcast, trauma is not the event, it’s your body’s reaction to it. One thing that traumatizes one person may not traumatize another and vice versa. Whether you are experiencing something as severe as PTSD or not, there are some indications that you are experiencing some trauma because of what you’ve been through. The thing with trauma is that it makes us store the memories of what happened in a way that feels very immediate and threatening. In some cases, memories cause someone to re-experience what happened and it feels like it’s happening to them all over again. This causes strong bodily reactions, which people obviously do not like. This leads to avoidance. Avoidance of things that trigger memories of the trauma and also avoidance of the feelings that come along with remembering. When you said that you have a really hard time talking about it at all and start to panic and have urges to self-harm. I wonder if you are also experiencing some dissociative symptoms. Feeling disconnected from your body and your experience. This often leads to self-harm as a way to feel grounded again. This would be common in people with trauma as well. The thing is, the avoidance of the topic makes the trauma stickier. It IS super hard to talk about, but avoiding it at all costs also makes it take root even deeper. So. Let’s get to your actual question – do you need to talk about the specifics to help you process and move on from it. Not necessarily. You don’t always have to go into deep detail about what happened. And even if you do, you don’t have to go into it all at once. One way to process the trauma is to gradually expose yourself to the thoughts and feelings that come along with remembering what happened. There are a variety of ways to do this. I think that it IS important for your therapist to know that you do have trauma to work through. You can be honest with them that you don’t feel like you’re ready to dive into it all right away, but they need to know that there is a traumatic history so that they can help you better. If I were your therapist, I would want to know. You could say something like “I want you to know that I have trouble talking about certain things in therapy. I do want to talk about them, but I don’t think I’m ready yet. Can you help me with this?” You can also be honest about the fact that you are worried about upsetting them etc. If it were me, I’d give you comfort and normalize being afraid to talk about it. Then I’d educate you a little bit about trauma like I just did. Then we’d probably work on skills for self-regulation like breathing strategies so that you have some tools to work with before we dive into what happened to you. The reason for this is that you need some tools to withstand the processing without spiraling. It might be too intense to just dive right in. From there you might start to dip your toe in bit by bit while you continue to build a strong working relationship with your therapist. Eventually, you will build more trust with them and more confidence in exploring deeper topics. You do NOT need to impress your therapist. The hardest sessions are the ones where people don’t have anything to work on. We are there to help. It sounds to me like you have some fundamental misunderstandings about what therapists do. You said you don’t want to vent and you are worried about making him uncomfortable. That’s literally our job! We are trained and prepared to hear difficult things and help you work through them. You don’t need to worry about making him uncomfortable. However, as always, I think that it’s great to talk about the way that you are feeling and any fears that you have about the therapy process in therapy. You could say that you are worried about upsetting him with details of what happened and he can reassure you about that. It’s not the only thing you need to talk about, but I think it’s important to pay attention to that resistance you feel. Often that’s an indicator that there is something there that you should be addressing. I think regardless of what you talk about, therapy is going to be a great prompt for you to build some distress tolerance and learn how to better talk about difficult things that are somewhat activating for you. So again I am proud of you for your progress so far and I think that you are on the right track. Keep it going. I’d encourage you and everyone to listen to ep 209 as well, which are tips on how to make the most out of therapy including don’t try to impress your therapist, don’t lie to your therapist, and don’t be afraid to cry. I have and am recovering from borderline personality disorder, and so does one of my best friends. She often comes to me upset and crying, and I always do my best to comfort her. We both have grown up in toxic environments and she’s still stuck in one. I do everything I can to validate her (we’re both victims of constant lifelong invalidation), but she often tells me No and hurriedly invalidates herself the minute I try to tell her it’s okay and that she’s not wrong and her feelings are normal. Example, she’ll say “I just need to get over it” or “I’ll be fine” or “I need to change.” How would you respond to someone who does this? You’re a good friend for writing in about this. I am happy to hear that she has you in her life. I’m sure you can relate that tendency to put herself down. A lot of people with BPD (and other issues) do a lot of mental filtering where they only give credit to the evidence that seems to support the negative way that they are already feeling about themselves. I’d encourage you to read my 4 Cs of supporting someone with mental illness blog post. I think that as someone with BPD interacting with another person with BPD, one thing that you’ll want to pay attention to is how much the conversation is activating to both of you. The best thing that you can do for her is to be tempered in your response, but also clear and consistent with your message. If you think that she is valid in her feelings, tell her that and understand that her instant reaction will be to deny it and put herself down. Expect that. When you expect it, you can not be too emotionally activated by her response. Try your best to not get frustrated with her about it. You can say that you believe what she’s saying and you understand why she feels that way. You disagree that she needs to just get over it and think that she deserves more. But more than anything you feel for her and want to bring her comfort because it sucks to feel that way. Even if she’s not in a place to hear you or believe you, it can still make a difference that you say it. As someone with BPD, she may also be trying to elicit a certain response from you as well. It deeply impacts interpersonal relationships, which can sometimes lead to unintentional manipulation. Not in a malicious way, but in a way that uses your own emotional state to pull a certain response or emotion from another person. I think that this is also a good opportunity for you to do some self-monitoring and make sure that you are exercising good personal boundaries. You may not always be in a great place to hear what she is going through if it is really activating for you. This is where that clarity comes in again. If you aren’t in a place for her to just unload on you, you can say something like “I hope you know that I love you very much. I don’t feel like I’m in a place with my own mental health to take on all of this right now. I can shoot you a message when I’m in a little bit better of a spot if you’d like.” You can also take the constructive parts of what she is saying and support her in those. While she doesn’t need to feel like a bad person for experiencing what she does or feeling this way, it is totally valid for her to want to make some changes. She doesn’t need to just “get over it”, but she might need to change her circumstances or get some additional help in coping with this stuff. That is something that you might be able to help her out with especially if you’ve been able to identify some resources for yourself. You could say something like “I don’t agree that you need to just get over it. I don’t blame you all for feeling like this. It’s totally valid. BUT I know that you’ve wanted to do something about this for a while. Can I help? I can look into some therapists for you” etc. You don’t need to solve her problems, but it DOES make a difference that you are there and you hear her. Keep doing what you are doing! Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Bulldog Online and Cozy Earth. Bulldog Online is about taking the intimidation out of yoga and replacing it with music, smiles and no judgment with online classes available on demand. Visit bulldogonline.com to try your first 30 days for free and use the code DUFF to claim an additional 50% off your first paid month! Cozy Earth manufactures the world’s softest bedding, guaranteed. Using responsibly sourced bamboo, they make sheets, duvet covers, comforters, pillowcases, and more. They also make it super easy to try out their products with a 30-day free trial! Right now they are offering my listeners an incredible 40% off via their website, cozyearth.com, with code DUFFPODCAST. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 246: Are Trauma Details Necessary in Therapy & Supporting Someone with BPD appeared first on Duff The Psych.
30 minutes | 19 days ago
Episode 245: Working Through a Complicated Break Up Alone & Confidentiality in Therapy
Hello, Friends! In this episode, I answer a single listener question that has two parts. The first tackles the break-up of a relationship and working through this alone, while the second part takes a look at confidentiality in the world of therapy and finding a therapist that suits you. I have two questions for the podcast. First, I am going through the breakup of an on-again, off-again relationship of eight years. He was and still is married. I don’t want to dwell on the ethics, but he wrote a lot of metaphorical checks he couldn’t or wouldn’t cash. The first time he told me he would get a divorce was only six months in. Now that I’m finally ripping off the band aid, the wave of emotion from so many broken promises and realization that my past self had way too much tolerance for his BS is hitting me hard. I would love to get into therapy, but I can’t afford it yet. I didn’t tell many friends he was married, so I can’t really talk about the details of the breakup with them, either. How can I start to process this on my own? Secondly, I work in full-service sex work. It’s not always a walk in the park, but I love my job. Honestly, practicing setting emotional boundaries and saying no to men at work was part of what helped me realize I have to break up with this guy. I worry about a therapist reporting me to law enforcement or fixating on my job as a symptom of deeper mental illness or a problem I have to solve. How can I find a therapist who meets my needs when I can afford it? I’m sorry you’re going through this. Getting into the ethics of the relationship isn’t necessary either. Every situation is different. But you’ve clearly been mistreated and strung along. I know it can be hard to deal with the self-judgments in a situation that probably looks like an obvious bad idea from the outside. It can sometimes be the case that you construct sort of a house of cards around yourself and the situation. You can’t admit to yourself that something is wrong or the whole elaborate structure comes crashing down. It sounds like you’re in a place where you’ve recognized that it’s not worth it to be treated the way you are and so now that house of cards is crashing down. Which is why it feels like all the past things you let go are suddenly surging in. I would encourage you to be honest with yourself about the mistakes that you have made, but also try to have some compassion for yourself. You’re not a dumb person. You were obviously having some need met, but you were also taken advantage of and strung alone because you had that need. I have to imagine that he got a lot of benefits from this arrangement and as long as he kept saying that he would do something about the situation and kicking the can down the road, he could still get what he wanted. You might consider writing some letters to your past self. To the you right at the beginning of the relationship, to the you in the middle of it, and maybe even to you right now. What do you wish you had known? What do you wish you could remind yourself of? How would you treat this situation and provide comfort it if were a friend that were going through the same thing? Plus, journaling journaling journaling. You know how I feel about this. Write until your hand falls off and move through the emotions rather than away from them. If writing about it gets boring or repetitive, GOOD! That means that it doesn’t have the same sting and power over you. I’m sorry that you don’t have the funds for therapy right now. That’s tough. There are some things to consider with that. There are sliding scale therapists, cheaper options like Better Help, universities, or even peer support directly/in groups. You didn’t tell friends that he was married, but is there a reason you can’t tell them now that it’s over? Keeping it to yourself can be super tough. Or maybe you can tell them that there are details that you can’t share that would violate his privacy but still give them the vibe that you were strung along, that he chose someone else, etc. There is no perfect way to process this on your own, but I just want to encourage you to be active about it. Use resources like journaling, talking to trusted loved ones, making art or diving into a project, reading books or articles that are relevant etc. Thank you for being honest about your job. Sex work is real work. I can absolutely see how being in control of boundary setting, consent etc. is a way to claim your power and advocate for yourself. But I know that the world at large isn’t on the same page about sex work, so I understand your concern. In the US, here’s how confidentiality works: We cannot share information about you and violate your confidentiality unless it is related to safety. Breaking the law is not something that we can report. Basically, if you are an imminent danger to yourself or to others, that’s where we could report. Or if you talked about elder or child abuse. So even if you murdered someone, as long as it was in the past, it’s not reportable. So your job is not something that they can report to the authorities as long as it doesn’t involve plans to harm someone. Even if there was abuse talked about, that’s not reportable unless it’s involving a kid, elder, or disabled adult. As to the concern of them focusing on it as a treatment issue, that’s something that you can screen for a bit when choosing a therapist. Look at their profiles and see if you can find someone that has info in there that indicates that may be a safe person/ally. For instance in the last line of my Psychology Today bio, I have LGBTQ+, Kink, Polyam friendly. That doesn’t explicitly mention sex work, but I have to imagine you would be more inclined to reach out to me vs someone who emphasizes that they do Christian counseling. You can also use your skills from work to set expectations and boundaries with the therapist. Talking about therapy itself and the therapeutic relationship in session is super useful. So you could let them know that you don’t want to focus on your work as a treatment issue, but it’s just context you want them to understand. So those are my thoughts for you. I hope that things start to move in a positive direction for you! Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Bulldog Online. Bulldog Online is about taking the intimidation out of yoga and replacing it with music, smiles and no judgment with online classes available on demand. Visit bulldogonline.com to try your first 30 days for free and use the code DUFF to claim an additional 50% off your first paid month! Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 245: Working Through a Complicated Break Up Alone & Confidentiality in Therapy appeared first on Duff The Psych.
42 minutes | a month ago
Episode 244: “Accidental” Overdose & Becoming a Psychologist with Bipolar
Hello, friends! In this episode, I answer two really important questions that tackle issues surrounding suicidality, talking to your loved ones about your mental health, and becoming a Psychologist with Bipolar. This past week I was hospitalized for an “accidental “ overdose. I did accidentally take 600 mg of an XR medication. (Forgot I had already taken my med) Then I called poison control who flipped out and sent me to the ER. Where my ER docs I worked with for 15 yrs saw me. I had to tell them I also took a “couple” of Ambien too. I told them to “counteract “ the other Med. This was not entirely true. I was too embarrassed to tell them that I wanted to sleep and not wake up I never had an opportunity to speak with the admitting Dr alone. My husband was in the room. Plus I don’t remember anything after I fell asleep for hours and everything was blurry and I was seeing double. I can’t tell my husband the truth. He still thinks it’s an accident. I see my family Dr for a follow up ALONE. So I will get to tell him. My psychiatrist knows and told me to up my therapy sessions with my therapist to twice a week. I don’t see psychiatrist again for 5 wks. Do I need to tell my husband and family the truth? I am afraid to. I’m afraid I will be looked down on. Like there is something wrong with me. I don’t want people to push me away because they think I’m crazy. First off, I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. I’m glad that you are alive and thinking about how to approach this. I know that you may be ambivalent about being alive or may just be here for other people at this point, but I am glad that you’re around to ask this question. I’m also glad that you at least have one person, your psychiatrist, that you are able to be honest with about this. Upping therapy sessions to twice a week is a good plan. I hope that your psychiatrist and therapist have also already gone through some safety planning with you in the event that you find yourself this low again in the near future. I can understand the urge to keep this to yourself. It’s a VERY hard thing to talk about. There is a lot of internal and external stigma attached to suicide still, so it may be scary and feel embarrassing to admit that this is an issue for you. Your mental health is also your own business. HOWEVER, suffering through suicidal ideation in isolation is much more dangerous. Think of it this way, you may find that you are struggling and on the verge of serious suicidal ideation. However, you can’t bring yourself to tell your husband that you need to take certain steps to get help because that would mean worrying him and letting the cat out of the bag. All the while, the issue continues to get worse and you start to feel more helpless and out of options. That feeling of being out of options is one big contributor to actually harming yourself. Unless your husband is totally aloof and not in the picture at all, I think he probably knows or suspects more than you think. At the very least, it is probably clear to him that you are having a really hard time. It may be hard for him to hear and for you to speak about, but I don’t know that it will be completely out of the left field that you’ve been feeling hopeless and suicidal. So this choice is yours, but I am absolutely a big advocate for dragging suicide out into the light. When things stay hidden and you fear them getting out, they tend to get bigger. You almost have an unconscious commitment to them and that can be dangerous. Clearly, there is a part of you that wants to get through this. At the very least you want to want to live. You want to be able to enjoy the things that are good and make it through the hard times. So with that framing in mind, being honest with your spouse about this is a great way to make sure that you have access to the resources that you need when you need them. Rather than having to find a way to beat around the bush, you can address it just like you would any other health problem. My wife has chronic suicidality and it’s something that we try to talk about openly. A couple of times hospitalization has been necessary to stabilize things. Other times, it’s just an indicator that we are at a fork in the road. This might mean a big change needs to happen to make life more bearable or it might mean that we need to weather the storm and adjust our approach for a while until the intensity fades. All of this would be a lot scarier for me as a spouse to hear about after the fact. I wish for her sake that my wife did not struggle with suicidality, but it means a lot to me that she trusts me with that information and that we are able to try to address it as best we can. It also allows us to develop some vocabulary around it. “I don’t feel great” is different from “I’m not doing well”, which is different from “I don’t feel safe”. Within the context of our relationship, the latter is sort of a “snap out of it” phrase for me that makes me go okay we need to plan and get things moving here. All of this becomes much harder when you are hiding the symptom. If you decide to talk with him about this, I encourage you to be honest and clear. You could even write a note and talk to him after he reads it if that is easier for you. You might say that you have been nervous to tell him because you are embarrassed, which is on you not him. That you feel like you know he will be supportive but you also don’t want to scare him. You can say that you have been feeling hopeless and you weren’t actively planning to hurt yourself, but before you knew it you were overdosing and hoping that this was the time that you wouldn’t wake up. You can let him know that you want to live, but it’s hard right now. You can reassure him that you love him and losing him is one of the scariest things to you. And from there you can work on how he might support you. I don’t know if this is the case for you, but I want you to try your best to be honest with yourself. Is there a part of you that doesn’t want this to get out because you don’t want the option taken away from you? In many cases, with safety planning, it makes sense to limit someone’s access to whatever they are most likely to harm themselves with. If your pills were managed by someone else or certain ones that were not available right at your disposal, would that be difficult? This isn’t the only option, but if there is resistance for this reason, you might want to reflect on that. There are a variety of ways that someone might be able to support you and show that they understand what you are going through. I have a chapter about suicide in my depression book and you can actually get it for free or watch me read at duffthepsych.com/suicide. This may be something to review yourself and possibly pass on to someone else that you want to understand. I don’t think you are crazy. But I do think you are suffering. I also think that it will be hard to speak about, but finding a way to open up the topic of conversation will help you suffer less and will help you be safer in the end. If he came to you with the revelation that he has been feeling suicidal, would you pull away because he’s crazy? No way. You would be REALLY concerned (which can be hard to deal with too), but mostly you would be happy that he’s safe and want to figure out how to help in the future. These are some things to consider. I’m glad you’re around and thank you for trusting me with this question. I am writing to you because I am interested in becoming a clinical psychologist. I would ideally like to practice therapy (and possibly art therapy) in addition to teaching psychology at the undergraduate level. This has been my dream since I was 15, but once I became extremely ill with bipolar I disorder I renounced this dream, deeming it no longer possible. I am 22 and I have been manic to the point of psychosis and depressed to the point of a suicide attempt, and have been hospitalized twice. Lately, however, I have started to have more hope for my stability in the future and have decided to pursue the path of clinical psychology. I have more motivation than ever to adhere closely to my treatment plan now that I have a path. In your opinion is it possible to be a clinical psychologist with a mental illness? What advice do you have for me on this journey? Thanks for the question. It sounds like you really have a passion for mental health and the field of psychology. Let me start by answering your overall question first. Yes. Yes, it is definitely possible to be a clinical psychologist with mental illness. In fact, a lot of us DO have mental illness. I think some people have the assumption that all therapists have great mental health. This is not always the case. We don’t all have significant mental health issues, but a lot of us got into the field in the first place due to our own experiences. Now, I won’t lie to you – it will be a challenge. Bipolar 1 can be brutal. Everyone is different, but if you’ve had mania to the point of psychosis, you know what it’s like to be really derailed by the issue. Not only is it more of a challenge to be a therapist with bipolar, but it will also be more of a challenge to get through a training program. HOWEVER. I hope you do it. The world needs people like you. There is nothing more validating than someone who actually GETS it. Nothing can help you empathize with clients like firsthand experience. Imagine that you were a therapist and you had a bipolar client that feels as though their mental health issues prevent them from becoming what they would like to be. You would want to encourage them to adjust and adapt. To plan and work around the bipolar, but not to be limited by it. Same thing here. There ARE therapists that have bipolar 1 and bipolar 2. Just like success in any dimension of life with bipolar, it just takes knowledge, treatment, and the right approach. Over time, you will start to become more and more familiar with your patterns and learn more about what to do when you find yourself in a manic or significantly depressed phase. There are some simple things that can be done to prepare for these phases once you are able to recognize them. For instance, being sure to have a backup clinician for each of your clients. That way if you need to take some time off, you will have backup coverage. This is possibly something you will be able to be upfront with your clients about. I can actually see this being a really positive point in your profile if you wanted to disclose it there. Speaking honestly about your experience and bringing both clinical and life expertise could attract people to you that want to make sure they aren’t talking to someone who only has book knowledge. It also is a demonstration that people living with significant mental illness can achieve higher education, good jobs, etc. It might also make sense to always be in a group practice setting rather than private practice so you can have some feedback mechanisms. Stuff like that. There are definitely ways to adapt. If you were to go for a PhD as it sounds like you would like to, you also have options. I can imagine doing therapy full time will perhaps be a lot to take on emotionally. But you could break up your time and practice, teach, and even research. In terms of advice for this journey, I would encourage you to do exactly what you’re doing. Stick with your treatment program. Use the struggle as a prompt to find good compensation strategies. Expect that bipolar will get in the way but know that it won’t be the end of the world. You can do it. It may also help to be adaptable. There is bravery in taking a shot. Even if you start off on a certain academic or career path and then realize that you need to make a pivot to something else, that doesn’t mean you failed. It sounds like you really want this and there is nothing like a purpose and a vocation to motivate you and push you to finding your own ways to work through this. I believe in you! Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Bulldog Online. Bulldog Online is about taking the intimidation out of yoga and replacing it with music, smiles and no judgment with online classes available on demand. Visit bulldogonline.com to try your first 30 days for free and use the code DUFF to claim an additional 50% off your first paid month! Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 244: “Accidental” Overdose & Becoming a Psychologist with Bipolar appeared first on Duff The Psych.
33 minutes | a month ago
Episode 243: Exploring Bisexuality in Marriage & Postpartum Anxiety During COVID
Hello, friends! This is an interesting Q&A session where I offer my advice on two personal questions relating to exploring your sexuality when you’re married, and coping with postpartum anxiety and feelings of anger during COVID. Hey Robert, I hope you’re doing well. I’m a new listener and am writing to you about issues I’ve had with my sexual identity. I am afraid I might be more gay than I had thought, which wouldn’t be an issue if I haven’t been in a relationship with a man for the past decade. We started dating in high school, before I even realized I was bisexual, so I never had time to explore that identity or have a relationship with women. It felt like it was eating me up until it kind of crumbled out and I told him. He was kind and understanding, and offered to let me explore. But in a way, that feels like cheating and I’m not sure if he, or I would truly be comfortable with that. I love him and we are such good friends, it’s hard to navigate the situation. All the best & thanks for having this podcast. Thanks for trusting me with this. You are who you are. And that’s okay. Your understanding of who you are may shift over time and that’s also okay. I think we mistakenly assume that identity formation is completed in adolescence and that is very much not the case. This is especially not the case when you factor in influences at the micro and macro scale that impact your ability to recognize or explore your identity. Bronfenbrenner is a psychologist that has the ecological model. It demonstrates the different levels of context and influence on a person – microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem. On the microsystem level, you may have overt or covert discriminatory beliefs in your immediate family. On the exosystem level, you might be in a state that has intolerance for queer people. The chronosystem of the time that you developed may also influence these things. So you may only have the opportunity to investigate and explore parts of your identity at this point in your life. You aren’t alone in that. I’ve been open about the fact that my wife and I have explored non-monogamy in our relationship and I can’t speak for her, but I know that this helped her to more fully understand her own sexual identity. I suspect that the same may be true for me. But we are in similar situations, as we’ve been together since we were teenagers. Many people feel that they aren’t able to actively explore their bi/pansexuality due to the relationship they are in. I want to stress one really important thing to you. The partner you have does not dictate your sexuality. Being in a relationship with a man, woman, or nonbinary person has no bearing on whether you are bisexual. Being in a committed heterosexual relationship does not mean that you have to ignore your own queerness. When it comes to engaging in flirtation, dating, sex, or anything else with other people regardless of gender, that is something that has to be discussed within the context of your relationship. But you are allowed to like who you like and be who you are. I’m glad that your partner was open and nonjudgemental about this. That’s awesome. I think it’s something you should continue to discuss openly. Cheating is not some externally defined action. It exists in the context of your relationship. If you are operating within the boundaries discussed, then you are not cheating. This doesn’t mean that everything will go as planned and that there will be no difficult feelings to work through. Ethical non-monogamy or polyamory may not be the solution for you. But communication is. Continue to process this and explore to the extent that you are comfortable. Give it time if needed. If you do decide to explore nonmonogamy, I’d just like to encourage you to work on educating yourself first. There are a lot of dos and don’ts that you and your partner should know. In particular, looking up unicorn hunting and the ethical concerns about it may be a good starting point. There is also plenty of exploring to be done that doesn’t involve having sex with someone else. It sounds like this has been a part of your latent identity for a long time, but you are new to understanding it and exploring it, so don’t be afraid to not know what you’re doing. You don’t have to know everything. You are learning and feeling things out. That’s totally okay. It’s pretty common to feel a strong pull in a new direction when you are learning more about your identity, which is cool. But in time, you will understand more about where your current relationship fits in the context of things. If you find that this relationship is something that you don’t want anymore or you find that it needs to change in some way, these are things to explore and communicate about. I would encourage you to find some support outside of your partner as well. This can be therapy, it can be friends, it can be online strangers who understand what you’re going through. There is going to be a lot for you to piece though and a lot of uncertainty. While I encourage you to be open with your partner, you also don’t want to dump all of your confusion and insecurities onto them as you are still working them out. I’m sure he wants to be a support for you, but he also won’t be able to help reacting if you come home and you’re like “I’m having doubts about whether I should be with you.” Work some of that out on your own and with your supports before you start a conversation like that. Those are my thoughts for you. I am excited for you to learn more about who you are. Thank you! I recently welcomed my first child in October. We found out we were expecting in February. Covid cast a heavy cloud over the entire pregnancy and I also struggled with HG. My husband is a healthcare worker so we were both under a lot of stress in 2020. I currently struggle with so much fear over everything. I’m afraid of things I used to not even think about. I find myself spiraling into worst case scenarios and before I know it I’ve been laying awake in bed for hours. I can’t leave the house anymore. I haven’t talked to anyone besides my midwife, my baby’s pediatrician, or my husband in person since the summer. Most recently I’ve also been experiencing a lot of anger with people moving on with their lives. I’m angry at my friends who are currently pregnant and don’t have to go to every appointment alone or worry if their partner will be allowed at the delivery or if their baby will be taken away from them. I’m angry at people who see friends and aren’t afraid of getting sick. I’m angry people can drive for fun when I’m terrified of crashing. I don’t like this person I’m becoming. I’ve reached out for help but kept getting met with people telling me it’s normal to feel anxious after having a baby. But I just can’t believe feeling this hopeless and scared and angry all the time is normal. How do I manage my fear when there are very good reasons to be afraid? Driving IS dangerous, covid IS dangerous, people ARE dangerous. I feel like I just want to take my baby and disappear. It just feels too dangerous to participate in the world anymore. Wow. You are going through such a tough time, I’m sorry. I don’t blame you at all for struggling. That is a ton to deal with. I think that if you were to take any one of those things (newborn, healthcare worker husband, covid itself), that would be enough to cause some significant mental health symptoms, but you’re dealing with all of them. From what I can hear a lot of your fears and concerns have their roots in something really reasonable. It’s more about how much the anxiety is amplifying them and how much that is limiting you. I don’t want to go through and convince you that each of your fears are unreasonable or anything like that. But I do think that it is possible for you to get some help to live a more satisfying life where you feel less terrified and trapped. I HIGHLY disagree with people telling you that it’s normal to have anxiety after having a baby as if that means you shouldn’t worry about it. Postpartum mental health issues ARE common, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get help for them. In some cases, postpartum mental health issues persist and become long term issues. Not to mention that you STILL have to parent and that can be extremely challenging when you’re not feeling well emotionally. That leads to self-judgment, more mental health issues, and on and on. This would be the case even without COVID. But things are different and even harder right now. So all of this is to say that I take your struggles seriously and you deserve to get some help. I would like to highly suggest that you get some therapy. There are tons of great therapists out there that specialize in working with people who have just had babies. If you need help searching for someone, I have a guide for that. Beyond that, I think that working on coping strategies on your own may be more fruitful than trying to change the way you see the world. That might take some time and we are getting closer to COVID easing up a bit, so hopefully things will ease up for you as well. But things like finding a great breathing exercise to practice, finding a favorite meditation app, and journaling your frustrations can be a great start. Give yourself some tools to just get through without being a 10/10 anxiety level all the time. It might also be a great time to grab a book or workbook. I obviously have my own anxiety resources that you could check out. But all in all, have some grace with yourself. This is a crazy time and you are allowed to be struggling with it. You deserve to have your concerns taken seriously and getting some professional help at this point could really go a long way. Think about what you would like your kid to do if they were grown up and found themselves in this position. You wouldn’t blame them for having a hard time. You would love them and encourage them to get some help. You can do this. Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Bulldog Online. Bulldog Online is about taking the intimidation out of yoga and replacing it with music, smiles and no judgment with online classes available on demand. Visit bulldogonline.com to try your first 30 days for free and use the code DUFF to claim an additional 50% off your first paid month! Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 243: Exploring Bisexuality in Marriage & Postpartum Anxiety During COVID appeared first on Duff The Psych.
42 minutes | a month ago
Episode 242: Not Getting Better Fast Enough, COVID Financial Worries, Working on Yourself During Breakup
Hello, friends! In this episode, I sit down and tackle a few listener questions relating to both varying and important topics including the worry of your psychiatrist will terminate their help if you don’t get better fast enough, heightened financial worries during COVID, and working on yourself during time out from your relationship. Will a therapist or a psychiatrist get rid of you if you don’t get well fast enough? What do you do to keep yourself from worrying about it at every session? Normalize this fear – it’s a very common worry and makes sense, especially if you have depression you’re going to assume that you aren’t doing well enough. It’s not a competition to do well or struggle. If you think about it, it’s actually in a provider’s best interest to hold onto clients over time. I can’t speak for every provider obviously but the answer is predominantly no. You are expected to be struggling. That’s part of it. Furthermore, it actually hinders your progress to lie to your providers or just try to impress them. It’s typically not something we take personally. Ultimately, we want to find what works for you and that takes some time. Research also says it takes quite a while to develop a strong alliance. We often don’t have that kind of patience or opportunity. In terms of how to deal with it – I think one important thing is to expect it. Don’t beat yourself up for having this fear. It’s normal. You can also talk to your provider about it. Let them know you’re worried about this. Coping with anxiety or stress caused by career/income instability during and post-pandemic! Especially knowing student loan payment are forthcoming Man this is so real. I’m sure you know this, but you are not alone. MANY people in my personal and professional lives are feeling mounting stress from this. People are even having nighttime panic attacks. It is totally understandable. I think given the circumstances, you SHOULD feel scared. That’s not even necessarily a maladaptive response. You’re talking about safety here. Money means housing and it means food. Those things are on the bottom of the pyramid. It’s so hard to be expected to function well with the top-level stuff if the bottom of the pyramid is unstable. If you can find a way for that fear to drive you toward productivity, then great! If there is a side job or other income opportunities that you can engage with to get through, that’s awesome. It’s not as easy as that in many cases though. I think a lot of people will be ignoring repayments and debt for a bit because they have no other choice. I’m not sure how all of that will shake out in the end, but you need to eat. I would encourage you to allow yourself to worry and allow yourself to be pissed. Maybe even set aside time for it. And then also set aside time to challenge your assumptions, look at the worst-case scenarios, and see if there are creative options that you haven’t noticed yet. It helps to talk to other people about this as well. I think given the circumstances it is normal to start to feel hopeless and not look beyond the scope of the next few days. On the days where you can’t look further, focus on being mindful and present. There are small joys to the present moment, even if they take some effort to see. Just get through day by day. When you have it in you, push yourself to plan, analyze, and see what the options are. Even if the options aren’t great, you are going to feel better knowing that you have options of some kind. Hello Robert, I am just starting my journey of self help. It’s terrifying to face it alone. I know it’s something nobody can do for me. My girlfriend recently asked for a break for those reasons. How do I focus on my self help while struggling with the space she needs? Thank you so much for your care in humanity! You and Joelle are such a strong and inspirational couple. Thanks for the compliments and for the great question. I’m sorry that you are on a break with your girlfriend. That is hard on its own. I want to stress to you that just because you are not with her, that doesn’t mean that you are alone. It’s super easy to fall into all-or-nothing thinking when going through a breakup or just a break. Professionals, friends, family, and even internet strangers can all prove to be significant sources of support. This is a time when you are trying to learn to rely on yourself more and you are trying to learn how to work through the issues that you are facing. That’s allowed to be hard. Think of it like a period of training. This period of training is going to be beneficial in the end whether or not you get back together with your girlfriend. Ideally, the goal here is not to get back together but rather to work on those issues and symptoms that may have gotten in the way of your relationship’s success. That will help you as an individual and in any relationship you have from here on. It’s quite possible that you’ve fallen into a degree of codependency. Because of that, you will probably need to find a replacement for that comfort. Much like when you’re trying to break a drinking habit etc. By this I don’t mean hopping into another relationship, but rather beneficial activities that can distract you, therapy, groups, recurring meetings with friends, hobbies, etc. There is a void that you may need to fill to some extent while you figure out how to tolerate loneliness and the loudness of your own thoughts a little bit. Avoid triggers for memories, sad music, etc., and what is satisfying is not always what is healthy. Pump in the good content. You can do this. Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Better Help and Amp Human. If you are in a mental health slump, consider reaching out to a licensed professional to help. Better Help has a large counselor network and you can begin chatting with someone very quickly. Check out betterhelp.com/duff to get 10% off your first month. Amp Human is a human performance company dedicated to helping athletes at all levels unlock their limitless potential. Their latest innovation D+ Lotion is a first-of-its-kind gel-based lotion that delivers vitamin D directly through the skin. Visit amphuman.com/duff and use code DUFF15 to get 15% off D+ Lotion today. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 242: Not Getting Better Fast Enough, COVID Financial Worries, Working on Yourself During Breakup appeared first on Duff The Psych.
41 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 241: Coping with Loneliness & Negative Self Perceptions and Insecurities
Hello, friends! In this episode, I take two important questions from listeners of the podcast and offer my advice for combatting loneliness, especially during the pandemic, and dealing with personal insecurities and negative self-beliefs within your relationship. Hi Duff, I’m a 32-y-o female with diagnoses of all the mental health things (anxiety/OCD/depression/binge eating/insomnia). I used to be a binge/purger (my purge was extremely limiting calories, weighing/measuring obsessively, & sweating it out at the gym….not throwing up). Now I binge more than ever on a daily basis since the f**king pandemic became a thing back in March. My weight, self-esteem, body image, and other mental health symptoms have increased significantly because of this. In addition, I’m divorced (asshole had an affair) and am likely to lose my job bc of the f**ing pandemic. Through weekly counseling, I’ve discovered that my why, what I’m coping for, is loneliness. It’s impossible to date now, and I live alone. My question is, how am I supposed to solve the core problem (the loneliness) and then the related symptoms in the world as it is right now?? I’ve tried therapy, psychiatrist/medications, CBT, getting a dog, finding at-home hobbies, reading self-help books, etc. But I’m typical a very social person and thrive on being with people. I’m losing it….help! Thanks, you’re awesome. Thank you for writing this and for the vulnerability. I wanted to take this question to highlight the fact that you can be doing everything “right” and still be suffering. The situation that we’ve been in f**king sucks. It sucks for many people, but if you are struggling with mental health issues and difficulties in your life like job and relationship difficulties, it is even more of an uphill battle. There’s this common saying that it is difficult to heal in the environment that’s hurting you, but in this case you don’t really have the same options to get out of the environment because that environment is basically the world. So I hear you. I know it sucks and I know it’s easy to get helpless. I want to maybe suggest a few things that you may have not tried yet and give you permission to keep holding on. I hate to say “lower your standards” but one thing that might need to happen here is to adjust the frame and expectations. Someone in your situation that is struggling with serious mental health issues and has at least three major life areas that are breaking bad would not be expected to be doing awesome. If you are getting down on yourself for feeling like you are not functioning the way that you should or are frustrated that you are not happy right now… you shouldn’t be! That doesn’t mean that you can’t have areas in your life where you are thriving or you can’t have awesome moments of happiness, but for you it is expected that you’d be struggling right now. So it’s totally okay if you aren’t feeling 10/10 awesome. It’s okay if you’re just getting by with the bare minimum in certain areas of your life and not putting in the full effort and care that you might otherwise. You are allowed to be human. I know that this pandemic has lasted way longer than some of us expected, but this version of it will not last forever. We aren’t out of the woods yet, but there is serious progress happening. This isn’t going to be your life forever. This isn’t what you wanted, but you are not doomed to this for eternity. You also have to recognize that you are strong as hell. You have so many things that you are working against and you have been hurt while you are hurting. But you’re here. You’re alive and you are still trying to find ways to get through it all. That’s amazing. And even though you are not feeling great right now, all of your efforts through psychology, psychiatry, hobbies, self-help etc. are not useless. You are in a better spot than you would be if you didn’t do all of those things, so keep trying. A couple things came to mind that I did not hear in things you have tried. One activity that can sometimes be really really beneficial when you are focusing so directly on your own issues is to actually shift the focus on to other people. By this I mean trying to help others. Not just in the “put others before yourself” and be a good friend or family member type way. I mean things like volunteering. Is there anything that you might be able to do right now to make an immediate and active difference in someone else’s life? This will obviously depend on your comfort level, but there are a lot of different potential options. You could volunteer at a testing or vaccine site and actively have a hand in getting this pandemic out of here, you could volunteer at an animal shelter or other essential business that runs on volunteers, you could even take everything that you’ve learned through your own therapy and self-help and volunteer as a peer listener on a platform such as 7cups. You can just go to their website and click the volunteer as a listener button. Honestly, even though your situation feels like it hasn’t been improving, you probably have so much to offer other people given everything you’ve learned along the way. It can feel really good to help other people and it is a gratifying thing to do that doesn’t require you to feel great about yourself because it isn’t about you. I appreciate the insight about your loneliness. I’m not sure what you’ve done to find connection, but I’d ask for you to challenge yourself on this. I am finding that a lot of us are falling into all-or-nothing territory when it comes to socializing and interpersonal interaction. We feel like well we just don’t see people anymore. That’s not a thing. While it’s true that things are different, there are a lot of different degrees of interaction that might be possible. Obviously, a lot of us have been on Zoom a ton during this period of time, but have you had any Zoom game nights? What about online gaming? If you’ve never delved into it maybe a good way to get some interaction with others and occupy your mind would be to try out some gaming. For most areas, there are also local Facebook groups. Maybe you could post on there and see if there is anyone who would be interested in socially distanced meet-ups, walks, happy hours that sort of thing. There are also support groups. I mentioned this on the podcast recently, but a simple google search will show you that there are so many different support groups out there that are often free and peer-led that could help you connect with other people over topics that are mental health-specific or even things like common interests or hobbies. That last thing that I will say is that we all need to be careful about judging ourselves for a dimension that is not relevant. This is an insight that came up in therapy recently. But if you are judging yourself for being unable to find success in dating and making conclusions about yourself based on things like you are unwanted, unattractive, or not interesting… that doesn’t make a lot of sense. How can you judge progress on something that is essentially a fixed value? If dating isn’t really happening, how are you going to get more down on yourself for not making more progress in that dimension? I hope that makes sense. I’m basically just trying to say – go easy on yourself. All of this is supposed to be hard. You’re doing a really good job. I know you don’t feel well and I’m sorry that all of this is happening to you. It will not last forever. There are a few small things that you might for now. Keep holding on and doing the best that you can. I’ll try to make this short and simple. I’ve been listening for a day and I’m on episode 13. One of the questions is about sexual addiction and it “triggered” me. I’m 22 and female. I’m struggling pretty heavily with comparing myself to other females on social media. I’ve been feeling very out of place and lost and even like I’m behind due to social media constantly evolving and expanding. With the rising popularity in only fans and tik tok, I have been having a really hard time with struggling with my worth and feeling sexy, desirable and valuable to my boyfriend. I found only fans in my boyfriends search history and freaked out. A few days later I talked to him about boundaries and what I feel like cheating is and what he feels like cheating is. That helped a ton and we don’t have any problems with that. I am having problems with telling myself over and over that he’s on social media looking at other (hotter) females. I know it’s not true and I know I can trust him. But I struggle everyday even if it doesn’t have to do with him. I have a lot more that contributes but this is the meat of what bothers me most. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. First off: damn! 13 episodes in one day? That’s too much hahaha. The podcast is good but not THAT good. This is an interesting question with some different things to unpack. First off, I want to give you props for bringing it up and talking with your boyfriend about this. SO many people don’t have conversations about boundaries in their relationship. Instead of being open and clear about what actions are and are not okay within the bounds of the relationship, they make assumptions. That’s dangerous because you guys can be making different assumptions and then get mad at one another for not acting in accordance with the assumptions that YOU had. There is very little that is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be discussed in a relationship. Even non-monogamy is becoming more openly discussed, so simply agreeing to “go out” with someone should probably be accompanied by discussions of whether at the moment things would be considered exclusive, monogamous etc. Talking specifically about boundaries allows you to have a guidebook for your behavior and to know whether your concerns or feelings about your partner’s behavior are justified. If you are upset and it’s because they did something that goes against the boundaries you had talked about, you have every reason to be upset about that. If you’re finding that you are emotionally upset about something that falls within those boundaries, that means it’s time to continue to the conversation and maybe even re-negotiate. I am not a woman or femme person, so I can’t speak to the experience of being feminine on social media. But I do know that social comparison can be hard. Especially if you are already feeling insecure. We all have these core internal assumptions about ourselves. Often these are negative. Things like I’m ugly, I’m lazy, I don’t deserve anything, I am a burden etc. This plays into a thinking trap called mental filtering. We are very apt to find evidence that supports the way we already feel about ourselves. It’s a type of confirmation bias. So if you are going on social media and you are assuming that you aren’t as hot as everyone else, then you see a TikTok dance video, you aren’t going to be like, “Wow. That is a fun dance. I should try that. I bet they practiced it a lot to make it look so effortless.” You’re more likely to go, “Ugh. My butt is never going to look like that. Must be nice to have all the expensive clothes and makeup you want. This is what people want to see not some ugly troll like me.” See what I’m saying? It could really be anything that you encounter. Your brain is likely to cherry-pick out the evidence that supports the way you already feel. Then you’re going to ignore the stuff that doesn’t support your assumptions or even the stuff that is totally irrelevant to your assumptions. Someone else looking a way that you think looks good truly has nothing to do with you. They are just another independent person out there floating around in the world. I know it’s not as simple as turning it off, but recognizing this tendency can be helpful in catching yourself when it happens. You also may want to evaluate whether you are in a good place to even be on these social media platforms. You mentioned that you are struggling with your worth and feeling sexy. Answer this question in your head honestly for me. What do you think would happen if you spent even half the time that you are spending on social media doing something to directly work against those feelings. Taking an online dance class, learning a language or instrument, earning some extra money to buy some nice clothes or accessories, etc. Everyone has different things that make them feel confident and sexy, but being on social media (unless you’re posting and getting attention) is pretty universally not one of them. So reducing that time on social media will reduce some of the mental filtering that makes you feel as bad and then actively doing something to make you feel a little bit better in these dimensions would at least give you a better chance at feeling somewhat better and that’s well in your grasp. These don’t have to be big changes. This is getting into perhaps a bit of moral territory, but I’d also ask for you to challenge your assumptions about your boyfriend’s behavior and what it means. An ABC thought log could be very good here – best way for me to lead you through that is by joining my email list or checking out my online course. But it sounds like your assumption is that if he is consuming porn, engaging with people’s onlyfans, or frequenting social media profiles of attractive people that he will be less interested in you. We can’t read his mind, so we can’t say for sure that that’s absolutely not the case. But it’s also not fair to assume that it is. I wonder if you turned the tables how you would feel about it. If you go and look at a hot guy’s Instagram, read a sexy scene in a novel about some unrealistically alpha dude, or even watch porn… does that diminish your feelings for your boyfriend at all? You are ALLOWED to have an objection to these things. We are all allowed to have our own sense of what is right and wrong. So if you’ve made it clear that you aren’t cool with these things and you don’t want it as part of your relationship and he agrees, then you are totally within your rights to be upset if it occurs. I just want you to challenge the assumptions about what it means about you. There is a common pattern that happens in relationships where you are so worried about something bad happening that the relationship suffers and it actually leads to bad things happening. Kind of like when you ask someone what’s wrong so many times that they get pissed off and you’re like “See! I told you something was wrong”. Rather than checking and checking to make sure your fears are not true, maybe you should consider another way of feeling secure in the relationship, which is to build security and closeness. Make a point to do things together that make you feel loved, supported, and cared for. Do things that allow you to have fun together and be adventurous. Try some new things that might make you feel sexy or confident. Pour the energy into improving the relationship rather than into making sure that the relationship isn’t getting worse. And of course, you probably saw this coming, but… therapy. It sounds like this issue with your boyfriend has been a prompt for you to recognize some underlying difficulties and insecurities. Those are things that are absolutely worthy of talking through with a therapist. Aside from being able to talk about what is bothering you and have someone non-judgmental and empathetic, it can also be helpful to find a therapist that can gently challenge you on things or let you know when it seems like you are totally on base and you should be considered about something. Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Amp Human and Bulldog Online. Amp Human is a human performance company dedicated to helping athletes at all levels unlock their limitless potential. Their latest innovation D+ Lotion is a first-of-its-kind gel-based lotion that delivers vitamin D directly through the skin. Visit amphuman.com/duff and use code DUFF15 to get 15% off D+ Lotion today. Bulldog Online is about taking the intimidation out of yoga and replacing it with music, smiles and no judgment with online classes available on demand. Visit bulldogonline.com to try your first 30 days for free and use the code DUFF to claim an additional 50% off your first paid month! Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 241: Coping with Loneliness & Negative Self Perceptions and Insecurities appeared first on Duff The Psych.
47 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 240: What I’ve Been Up To Lately
Hey, everyone! In this episode, I take a step back to catch up with you all and talk about what I’ve been up to lately. I also want to give a shout out to Giving Voice to Depression, an awesome non-profit organisation that I am proud to be on the board for, Despite the pandemic, life seems to be motoring on by for many of us as we learn to adjust to the world! In this episode, I sit down and give a little update on our life and what I’ve been up to recently including: How things are for us at the moment My experience getting the COVID vaccine Work-life balance and how I’m managing this Family life with Joelle and the boys Routines Leisure activities Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 240: What I’ve Been Up To Lately appeared first on Duff The Psych.
52 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 239: Collective PTSD, No-Showing Therapy, Caregiving with Anxiety, Depression Options
Hello, friends. In this episode, I sit down and hit into a rapid-fire Q&A session. I offer advice on a selection of topics including collective PTSD, caregiving with anxiety, options for clinical depression, and what to do when you’re avoiding therapy. I’ve had PTSD from a very young age. IDK how I feel about “collective PTSD” Thoughts? I’ve never been in more need to talk to a psychologist, but I can’t make myself do it whether it’s on the telephone, virtually, or in person. I keep making and canceling appointments because I chicken out. What can I do to get myself in a better mindset to speak to somebody? I live in a small town and I think that has a lot to do with speaking to a person because I feel like the anonymity is not there. I also have been having daily panic attacks due to recent traumas and years of abuse. This has led to agoraphobia in the past and I don’t want to get back to that point because I also had a nervous breakdown. What can I do to make myself follow through and speak to a professional? I have in the past and had no problem with it. I don’t know why it’s so different now. I think a big problem is I tend to always pretend like everything is OK and I feel like I’ll do that and waste a doctor’s time. Any suggestions? Thank you. For those with clinical depression, are meds the only way to survive? Is there any other way to lift low moods/sinking feelings which end up in isolation episodes for days, weeks? Maybe even months? How to talk to people, be more social when your mood just doesn’t elevate? When dealing with anxiety in general, how can one help a loved one they care for who suffers from dementia, who also gets anxiety. Any tips/advice? Also, what are your thoughts/opinions on Purity CBD(THC free)? Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Magic Spoon and Amp Human. Magic Spoon produces healthy cereal that tastes too good to be true. High-protein, low-sugar, keto-friendly, and gluten-free, Magic Spoon is so confident in their product, it’s backed with a 100% happiness guarantee. Go to magicspoon.com/duff to grab a variety pack and try it today! And be sure to use our promo code DUFF at checkout to save five dollars off your order! Amp Human is a human performance company dedicated to helping athletes at all levels unlock their limitless potential. Their latest innovation D+ Lotion is a first-of-its-kind gel-based lotion that delivers vitamin D directly through the skin. Visit amphuman.com/duff and use code DUFF15 to get 15% off D+ Lotion today. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 239: Collective PTSD, No-Showing Therapy, Caregiving with Anxiety, Depression Options appeared first on Duff The Psych.
52 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 238: Support Group Problems & Grad School Doubts
Hello, friends! This is an interesting Q&A episode where I take a look at two super important questions relating to problems that can be associated with support groups and group therapy, and coping with anxiety, depression and doubts in Grad School. So in the past few months I’ve been trying to get educated on my mental health and part of that has been listening to this podcast (really enjoy it by the way) and another part has been venturing into some online support groups. Sometimes people are very kind and helpful, a lot of the times they’re not, actually they’re downright awful. Do you have any tips for navigating support groups and group therapy? The competition to prove who is the most sick really makes me feel invalidated and like I’m an imposter for even being in that group. It probably doesn’t help that I can be overly sensitive to criticism, something I’m trying to work on. Did I just have bad luck, or is this a common problem? Thank you for reaching out and great job working so hard on your mental health. Support groups can be an awesome resource. I’ve been talking about them quite a bit recently with people that I’m working with. They are a good way to continue the work outside of therapy. But yes sometimes you can run into this problem. It’s hard to say whether it’s a “common” problem or not, but it’s something you definitely do run into. The first thing that I’m wondering is if you are referring to peer support groups or therapy groups. There can be a pretty big difference between them. A lot of times when you are talking about support groups, they are hosted by an organization such as a non-profit but they are essentially peer groups. You don’t have a therapy or healthcare relationship with the facilitator and they may or may not be mental health professionals. On the other hand, you have what are typically referred to as therapy groups. These can come in many different shapes and sizes. I’ve run groups from 2-3 people up to 30+ people. These groups are considered group therapy and are run by a licensed mental health professional. They are commonly offered in big healthcare organizations but you can also find them in smaller clinics and private practices. I’ve actually run both kinds of groups and they were different experiences. And there are pros and cons for both. Let’s start with the support groups Pros: They are often free They are looser in format and rules There is sometimes less commitment There are a lot of them out there for a wide variety of issues More accessible Cons: Less structured May have a less skilled facilitator Fewer rules and boundaries in place Now let’s talk about therapy groups Pros: More resources, planning, and structure Sometimes the makeup of the group is taken into account Licensed professional or intern facilitators Group dynamics can be addressed There is sometimes more assurance that everyone in the group is DOING something about their issues Cons: Not free Can be more difficult to find (in person) May require more commitment and effort Less social A lot of it is luck of the draw. Some support groups are amazing. This is especially relevant for groups that might be family members of people with a given disorder or issue, caretakers, etc. to vent about things they don’t want to take out on their family members and get advice about how to deal with certain situations. Some of them can turn into competitions or toxic places, though when the facilitator isn’t skilled and when there are certain people that tend to dominate conversation. My advice to you about support groups would be to not discard them entirely, but be aware that this is a possibility and be okay with sampling a few until you find a good fit. Nothing wrong with shopping around. Usually, the commitment is lower so you don’t have to make a big deal about “quitting” the group. You can just sample a few and not come back to any that you don’t like so much. Sometimes just being busy and keeping your mind productive on these issues is helpful in and of itself. On the podcast, I talked with my wife about her IOP program. She didn’t love every group, but having a consistent schedule and a reason to think about what she’d like to work on was beneficial in itself. If you want to dive into group therapy, there are a few ways to do this. Psychology today has groups listed on their site just like you would look for therapists. You might also look for specific clinics in your area or simply google “group therapy _____”. One of the good things about most health appointments being online these days is that you are not limited to just your area. For group therapy, you attend a group that is centered anywhere within your state. For peer support groups, it doesn’t matter where they are geographically since there is no medical care taking place. There are sometimes therapy groups around a specific issue like bipolar or anxiety. Other times, they are themed like “doing what works” or DBT skills. You can often call and ask about the group before participating. Like if you want to know about how many people they get and what the vibe of the group is, these would all be reasonable questions to ask before trying to sign up. Some groups are more process type groups and others are more like classes. You can always do more than one! You have more space in therapy groups to talk about what happens in the therapy group. For instance, if you feel attacked you can say that and there will be a facilitator to help process and address that. In a peer-led group, that likely doesn’t feel as comfortable and safe. So, I hope this gives you something to think about. I definitely don’t want you to give up. Your experience is pretty normal, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some group matches out there! I’m a grad student in a mathematics program that is a non-thesis track. Although I’m doing well in the program, I feel like I ended up here by accident and can’t handle grad work. I’m passionate about my field, but feel like I’m missing out when I see my non-grad student friends or former love interests making career moves, starting relationships, or moving away. I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression since grad school started. The anxiety isn’t much of an issue, but the depression has began to worsen; I’m in the process of restarting regular therapy. Any thoughts? What you’re going through is so hard. I’m glad that you are starting therapy to try to get some help with this. I know it can be confusing to tease apart what is the depression vs imposter syndrome vs legitimately being out of your depth vs realizing that grad school isn’t the path for you vs still just adjusting. The first thing I’d want to make sure that you do is talk to your advisors or mentors about this. I’m not sure how your program works, it may be a bit different than mine, but if you have a faculty member who has seen a lot of people come and go and is somewhat familiar with you, you might be able to pick their brain about this. If they see you struggling, but feel like you definitely have it in you they might be honest about that. If it seems like you aren’t really jiving with the program, they might also be honest about that and suggest some adjustments that they think could be helpful. I think your concerns about your friends moving forward with their lives is totally legitimate. Grad school is an investment. Financially sure but also in time, stress, etc. It’s a lot and you are basically saying to yourself that the end goal will be worth it. You DO give up certain things in the short term with the hope of something that is worth it in the long term. There are obviously many ways to tackle grad school and it’s very common that people need to work hard to find a better balance so that they don’t burn out. But it’s also okay if you are having doubts about whether you need to be in the program at all. This is something that nobody can give you the “right” answer to. I would advise a lot of journaling, self-reflection, and collecting thoughts from other people you trust. Maybe it’s time to break out a piece of paper and think about what things will look like in 5 years if you continue this trajectory and what things will look like in 5 years if you don’t. Perhaps you need to take a step back and look at where you would like to go with your life and career. Then consider whether graduate school is the best or only option. For instance, some people in my field go into a PhD program and then realize that they just want to do therapy and only need a master’s for that. So they decide to not spend the extra money and heartache on a PhD program and instead start MAKING money sooner and doing what they want with an MFT. So asking these scary questions is totally reasonable. BUT you also need to make sure that you are questioning your assumptions and not just seeing the situation through shit colored glasses. Your language makes me think that you feel like you are running out of time. You are NOT. It’s hard to see past your scope when you are in the thick of it, but even drawing your life out on a timeline can help to clarify how little time this is. You have time. You need to survive and make it through that time, but you have time. You also may have an unrealistic understanding of how everyone else in your program is doing. You might feel like they all naturally get it more or are smarter than you, when in reality they are also struggling in their own way. Talking to them is one great way to see if this is the case. Working on your own self and finding a balance between work and health will benefit you whether you decide to go through with the program or not. Grad school isn’t worth throwing your mental health totally away. So maybe now is the time to invest in yourself and your self-care. To try to find that balance. To process this with a lot of people. Lead into the issue. The point is not to keep you in grad school. The point is to remove the barriers and determine whether grad school is going to be healthy and useful for you. In the end, if you find that it’s not going to be a good idea to continue, you will be in a less mentally devastated state and you will be able to move in a new direction more easily. If you do decide that the program is not right for you. That does NOT mean you failed. That doesn’t mean that you are a bad person and couldn’t hack it. I have seen people go through an entire program and not do ANYTHING with the degree, which makes them miserable. I have also seen people who are just a terrible fit for the program push and push and push and end up taking numerous years to get through the program. Sometimes you only know whether something is right for you by taking the leap. If you decide to leave, you still took the leap. You were still brave. You still got into the program in the first place. You stilled learned some stuff while you were there. Nothing can take that away from you. All of that still counts. So I hope that you can begin to move toward a place of balance and understanding. I hope that you can start to gain some clarity about whether this is the right place for you or not. You are not alone. Use your resources, challenge your assumptions, and take good care of yourself. Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Listenable and Better Help. Listenable is a learning platform with thousands of bite-sized audio lessons created by world-class experts in communication skills, career skills, personal development, relationships, productivity, and more. Download their app or visit their website at listenable.io and use the code DUFF to get 50% off a year of Listenable membership. If you are in a mental health slump, consider reaching out to a licensed professional to help. Better Help has a large counselor network and you can begin chatting with someone very quickly. Check out betterhelp.com/duff to get 10% off your first month. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 238: Support Group Problems & Grad School Doubts appeared first on Duff The Psych.
59 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 237: 20 Tips to Help You Focus
Hello, friends! This is a Q&A come deep dive episode where I tackle a single question that focuses on ADHD. I offer my advice and provide some top tips for improving attention and productivity. So I did really well with your anxiety and depression books. I have bipolar disorder and anxiety. But I also have ADHD. My therapist told me she doesn’t do ADHD counseling! So she referred me to a specialist, who sent me some paperwork that I not so promptly started filling out, got bored, set it down, and lost! My psychiatrist gives me Adderall for it, but he doesn’t give me any tips on dealing with it. Sometimes it’s good, because I can literally do 4 things at once at my job, but then I am literally doing 4 things at once and forget wtf I’m doing on 6 things I was supposed to do. So, wtf are we adults with ADHD supposed to do to be productive and successful besides take powerful stimulants? Awesome that you have been able to make progress with my books and thank you! Isn’t that great how the approach used to help someone doesn’t take into account the problem they are having? That’s a pet peeve of mine. Don’t give someone a mountain of paperwork if completing paperwork is directly related to their problem. I’m glad that you sought out a specialist to work with and I would suggest you give that another shot because your experience of the psychiatrist just giving you medications and not any tips or counseling on how to work with your ADHD is quite common. There are a variety of people that might help you work with ADHD – some might be licensed psychotherapists others might be coaches or tutors. You highlight a good point about your attention when you say that you can do 4 things at once but then you forget what you were supposed to be doing on the 6 things you were actually SUPPOSED to do at your job. A common misconception that I talk about way back in episode 32 of the podcast is that people with ADHD do have an attention span. In fact, sometimes their attentional capacity is quite strong – they just have trouble controlling where it points. With bipolar you are also going to have cycles – hopefully less severe due to your meds but you need to be aware of these fluctuations and plan for them. Use motivation when you have it to plan for those times when you don’t. Set up systems. So – I want to just give you a bunch of tips that might apply to you that you can use to be more productive and less frustrated. These tips apply to everyone, but they are particularly relevant to people like you that have attentional difficulties. Limit distractions Adjust your space – physical and digital Do NOT multitask Practice mindfulness meditation frequently Journal/Plan every day Check your planner at least 3x per day Set yourself up with an outline before leaving a task Keep a notebook nearby for impulsive thoughts that can wait Force yourself to prioritize If you take it out, put it back Don’t procrastinate – if it takes less than a minute do it (unless you’re in the middle of something else) Keep a place for your small things Make a mise en place for your workplaces Use neutral inputs to satisfy your attention hunger (white noise etc) Take breaks for movement Abort when you’re in to deep Work in shifts Don’t use your partner as a coach Use the solution that works, whether it’s perfect or not Study yourself Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Word Forest. I’m happy to be partnering with Word Forest, a free word puzzle app. If you’re looking for a nice way to take a break and challenge your mind, check it out! They are offering 2500 coins and 500 gems when you download and play. Just check out the Apple or Google store and search Word Forest (it’s the first result). Download Word Forest for free today, and get ready to flex that brain! Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 237: 20 Tips to Help You Focus appeared first on Duff The Psych.
34 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 236: Mental Health within Couples & Coping with the Winter Blues
Hello, friends! In this Q&A, I tackle two interesting listener questions relating to couples who both go through dips in their mental wellness at the same time, and coping with the winter blues and what you can do to help yourself feel better! I was wondering if you could offer some advice on couples who are both going through mental health “episodes” at the same time. My partner has anger management issues and lacks emotional understanding of anything but happiness or anger… while I am extremely sensitive and suffer with depression. We aren’t capable of leaning on one another in this time, my sadness only triggers her anger and vice versa, but this is not our normal dynamic… normally we are good, its only when one has a slip of mental health that the other does and it piggy backs. It sounds like things are difficult for you both right now. I hope things ease up a little soon. Thank you for writing in the question. One really encouraging thing that I see in here is what you wrote at the end. That this isn’t your normal dynamic. That you are normally good. It’s only when one of you has some difficulty and then it sort of snowballs from there. First off, this is very common. It doesn’t mean there is something fundamentally wrong or dysfunctional about your relationship. You and your partner are a system and a change in a system causes the rest of it to adjust or change as well. It sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of your patterns and your partner’s patterns. That can help you not take things so personally when you might get into it or you are met with some inappropriate anger. I think a lot of this is going to come down to establishing some standards and planning for this to happen. Rather than denying it and hoping it won’t happen again, think about what you can do to help yourselves out when it does happen. To be clear, I think this planning probably needs to happen when you are not both in a strongly emotional state. When you are both keyed up in your own ways, trying to establish plans and guidelines might come off like blaming and lead to a big argument. But when you are both doing relatively okay, I think it’s reasonable to be real about the fact that you tend to seriously impact each other when you are going through mental health episodes. You can talk about appropriate boundaries. What is and is not okay with regard to how you treat each other in these moments. You might have to set some ground rules about no yelling, name calling etc. Or on the other side, your partner needs to be assured that they won’t be completely shut out and ignored. I’m not sure exactly what these would look like but it would be a collaborative effort to prepare for the next time. I think that you can both also be honest about the fact that you might need to do some intentional distancing or relying on other resources in service of the relationship. You can’t rely on each other for emotional support, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get emotional support. Do you have therapists? Do you have other trusted loved ones or family members that you can lean on? Are there ways for you to plan some time for yourselves to try to ride out the storm or improve your state of being that doesn’t involve the other partner? As always, I encourage you to be clear and consistent in your messaging to one another. You can say, “I love you. I will even if you have a really hard time. But when we are both having mental health struggles, we tend to pull each other down further. Know that I am not judging you for having the difficulties that you do, but I think that we both need to find a way to get our own help outside of our little bubble so that we can get better faster for each other.” You can also make a point to focus on the fundamentals and basics during these times of elevation. You might not be able to be a great listening ear and shoulder to lean on, but maybe making a point to support in other ways like preparing meals, calling in prescriptions, taking care of business, giving small thoughtful gifts like a plant or some cozy sweats, or offering to facilitate some alone time for your partner, can go a long way. Again, focusing on the less intense times, I think a lot of us try to not bring negativity in when we are feeling good, but that is the perfect time to be investing in yourself and your own mental health resources. Rather than only turning to things like therapy, books, self-help etc when things are hard, it can be really helpful to work on that stuff BEFORE it gets difficult again. That said, it can be very difficult for some people to work on their mental health when they are not in an active episode because things feel better. For that reason, you both may want to spend some time journaling or doing whatever form of documentation works for you. Keep track of what is going on, how you are feeling, and the roadblocks that you are running into. These are things that you can look for resources to deal with when you are feeling a bit better. I also want to say something I’ve reiterated on the show several times before with regard to communication in a relationship. You don’t only have one single shot at a conversation. And you’re likely not going to completely blow it with one misstep. If you made a mistake when you were feeling poor, talk about it later. Come back to the topic and practice some of that clarity and consistency I talked about. Make it clear that you are in this together and that you are both struggling. Say plainly that you don’t think your partner is a bad person or a bad partner, but that these difficulties you both are having are causing friction and difficulty in your lives. Lastly, this might be the obvious answer but perhaps integrating the help of a couples therapist during these times would be useful if you haven’t done that already. Increasing the support in any way would be helpful. In particular, a couples therapist can help you move in a productive direction without making one person feel like they are the problem. It’s a safer and more constructive place to plan and hash some things out. Best of luck to you both and thank you for writing in! Hi Duff, I’m wondering if you have any unconventional suggestions for “the winter blues”. My general anxiety/depression has been well-controlled since I got on medication and worked through some underlying self-worth problems. But around this time of year I always feel like my joy is less than it would be at other times of the year. If I had a day that in the summer would make me feel 100% joyful, then in the winter that same day would only make me feel 85% joyful. It’s not debilitating, but it is frustrating because it feels so out of my control. I don’t think I’m a failure or want to kill myself– I just feel apathetic. I wish things were getting done, but I have incredibly low motivation to actually do anything. Nothing makes me excited like it usually does. I’m also irritable, I think because I’m so annoyed that I feel this way. Have you ever caught a cold or had an injury, and you’re frustrated and annoyed that 1) you’re in that situation, and 2) that you can’t do much to “speed it up”– you just have to wait it out until your body heals itself? That’s how this feels. I know I should try to exercise, get my vitamin D levels checked, go outside more or get a lightbox, but the thing is that it’s about all the motivation I can muster to do my job (at least “good enough” to not have any problems with my employer) and feed myself. How can I motivate myself to do the things that might help when I don’t want to do anything at all? Also, I did go for a long walk in the sun this Saturday, but that night and the next day I felt even worse. I know n=1 isn’t a large sample size, but that made me feel even less motivated to try to further pursue the things that are supposed to help, because when I did muster up the motivation to walk in the sun, it didn’t even help. Do you have any tips that are less intimidating to implement? Glad to hear that you have been able to tackle a lot of your anxiety and depression issues. proud of you for finding and using your resources. It’s also good that you can see the pattern here. That’s half the battle. An important factor to mention here is to also make sure we are separating out normal winters from pandemic winters – they are a bit different and it’s important we recognize this. I understand why you’d be annoyed when you can see your capacity and what you are capable of. Seasonal changes are very common. You aren’t alone in this. You don’t need to do all those things, but you may need to start with one of them and let the snowball happen. Your willpower is pretty much tapped at this point, so you can’t be expected to go from the state you are in now to exercising, going to the doctor, getting a lightbox, etc. all at the same time. But as I talked about in my recent email and video, you may want to think about what your lead domino is. Which one thing will have the biggest impact and make those other things easier. I suppose it’s another way of conceptualizing the Pareto (80/20) principle. What are some of the things that you needed to rely on more before your generalized depression lifted a bit? What was the most effective active ingredient? If you can identify one or more options, then your job becomes to pour whatever willpower you have into those rather than all of them. This could be therapy, it could be a lightbox, it could be a temporary increase in medication. It might take some brainstorming or some outside help to recognize which have been the most effective strategies in the past. Speaking of outside help – you may also want to enlist the help of outside sources like friends or family to pick up some of the slack. Like if you know you need a lightbox or need to find a therapist to work with but you simply don’t have the motivation to do so, it might be the time to ask someone to help you with it. Maybe someone could just buy you one and you can pay them back. Or maybe they can give you 3 options for therapists to work with rather than a million potential matches. You are right that an N of 1 is not sufficient to make a conclusion that some of your strategies won’t work right now. BUT – I’m hearing that you probably need to borrow some motivation from someone else. Whether that is friends and family, a therapist, or simply pumping in positive content 24/7, if you aren’t satisfied with your current state of low motivation and anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure in normal, everyday pleasurable activities), you are going to need to find a way to retrain your brain. This probably means some behavioral activation. That is, forcing yourself to get back to things that should be pleasurable for you. Treating it like a job and hammering away at it until you start to get some more motivation on your own. I have some resources in my depression book about this including determining your easiest wins and using the 5-minute rule to get started. You aren’t dumb for encountering this. It’s pretty normal. You can work on acceptance of the lower motivation and productivity level. And you can also make some tweaks to make things a bit easier. Look for your lead domino and borrow whatever help you need to get started. You got this! Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Word Forest. I’m happy to be partnering with Word Forest, a free word puzzle app. If you’re looking for a nice way to take a break and challenge your mind, check it out! They are offering 2500 coins and 500 gems when you download and play. Just check out the Apple or Google store and search Word Forest (it’s the first result). Download Word Forest for free today, and get ready to flex that brain! Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 236: Mental Health within Couples & Coping with the Winter Blues appeared first on Duff The Psych.
58 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 235: My Wife Gets Real about Psychiatry Frustrations
Hi, friends! This is the first episode with Joelle on in the new year. A LOT has happened since she was last on the show. We get cozy on the couch and talk about everything from voluntary hospitalization to the journey of finding a psychiatrist. I have to be honest with you all that this is not the most inspiring episode of the podcast. There is a lot of venting of frustration and fears. We also talk about suicidality, so please be aware of that. It’s always important to me that we are REAL on this show. It would be unfair of me to give you the impression that the mental health system is perfect. As someone who works in the field and as a family that has been in the thick of navigating it, we definitely have some frustrations. In this episode, we talk about operating with the current state of the world, Joelle’s recent voluntary psychiatric hospitalization, and how we have had to try something like 6 or 7 times to find a psychiatrist to help with Joelle’s meds. Despite the frustrations discussed, there are some good takeaways. Joelle is currently much more stable. She is no longer in her deep depressive episode and is no longer suicidal. We are currently finding a balance in our life that is working really well. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 235: My Wife Gets Real about Psychiatry Frustrations appeared first on Duff The Psych.
36 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 234: Getting Through a Breakup
Hello, friends! Happy New Year – welcome to the first episode of 2021! This is an episode inspired by a single question relating to breakups! Talking from recent experience, I offer my best advice to help get you through and process the emotional turmoil that can come with a breakup. Have you done a podcast about breakups by chance? No, I haven’t. At least I don’t think I have. But no time like the present. Weirdly, I went through a breakup in 2020, so I have recent experience with this. You don’t want to hear this, but time will help. There is rarely a perfect definitive answer about what to do when a relationship fails or goes sour. You eventually have to make the decision to do something about it. This is just part of the human condition. We ALWAYS have mixed feelings. We ALWAYS doubt our decisions. We ALWAYS wonder what the other decision would have been like. Unfortunately, you don’t get to know the answer to all of those hypotheticals. You have what you have. Journal, Journal, Joural If there is one tip that I have for you, it would be to JOURNAL EVERY DAY. Seriously. Every day. Some days twice per day. Just write. How you’re feeling, what you wish would happen, what you wish didn’t happen, questions, concerns. Scream into the void on paper. Write your goddamn hand off. Make it your goal to burn through an entire journal. You don’t have to challenge every thought that might be problematic right now. Naturally, at this stage you are going to be thinking in some ways that might be a bit distorted. If you have an inkling, just put a pin in it. You could even dog-ear the page of your journal to come back to. I also think that it helps to not go through it alone, but understand that friends won’t have the perfect answer either. They will likely try to pick up on what you want and help you get there. If you don’t want the relationship to end but it is, they will try to help you get it back on track. Even if it probably shouldn’t. So you might need to gather multiple perspectives. Or tell people to be honest with you about their real perspectives. Nobody is going to be right (unless I’m one of your friends), but you need to gather some thoughts to get your own gears turning. One thing that we often do in situations like this is emotional reasoning. It likely hurts really bad to be in your situation. Maybe there are life factors that make this scary, inconvenient, and just straight-up painful for your heart. But as humans, we can fall into the emotional reasoning where we assume those negative feelings are an indicator that we are making the wrong decision. That isn’t always so. Sometimes the right decision f**king hurts. You are not going to feel better right now. Nor should you, really. It’s supposed to suck. It is going to take time to feel some sort of better. That becomes much harder when you are still being led on and strung along, though. I think a lot of us feel like it’s more evolved and reasonable to remain friends and not cut people out of our lives, but it’s really hard to get the necessary perspective when you’re still in it. Give yourself some grace…and time You’re in the eye of the storm right now. You can’t see things from an outside, more balanced perspective. Since you’re still in the thick of it, you’re going to scramble to explain things to yourself. How things got this way, how things have gone so wrong, etc. Now is not the time for that. By all means, process and brainstorm those things. But understand that any answers you arrive on are going to be HEAVILY influenced by how much you’re feeling and how close to it you still are. The time for coming to a deeper understanding about your behavior and their behavior, about how things got this way etc is going to come after some separation. You can always return to some type of friendship later on, but that needs to happen after some clarity is achieved. My last bit of advice for this period of time would be to pick one or two things that you know intellectually would be helpful. That you know would help your wellbeing, even if you don’t want to do them. Then stick to them. Curse my name every time you do those things, but stick to them. Be consistent. Your emotions are a swirl but your behaviors can be consistent and reliable. You will feel differently about this in a month. You will feel even more different in three months. You’ve gotten through every single hardest moment of your life so far and this will be something that you eventually look back on. Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Better Help. If you are in a mental health slump, consider reaching out to a licensed professional to help. Better Help has a large counselor network and you can begin chatting with someone very quickly. Check out betterhelp.com/duff to get 10% off your first month. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 234: Getting Through a Breakup appeared first on Duff The Psych.
0 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 233: Rapid Fire Part 2 – Pandemic Alcoholism, All or Nothing Thinking, Bad Pharmacies, and More
Hey, everyone! This week is basically a continuation of last week’s episode. I am not at the park this time, but I continue cracking away at the questions from our Facebook community in rapid fire fashion. Enjoy! Here are the questions that I cover in this episode, sent in from members of the private Hardcore Self Help podcast community on Facebook: I don’t know how to coexist in a state of both good and bad. Either I’m 100% focused on preparing for something negative, if something positive creeps in I’ll drop the ball and get caught off guard. or I need to focus on only the good and exert a lot of effort to being present in the moment, if a bad thought gets in everything is ruined and I shift to being focused on 100% negative again. It’s like when you have a little bit of a cheat one day and you decide that your whole day is ruined and binge on bad food. What’s the plan to getting back to normal alcohol consumption for 40% of our peeps?? Any Advice you’d have for getting professional help when you feel too depressed and overwhelmed to ask for help. How to deal with pharmacy staff who treat customers like criminals for filling prescriptions of medications like Ritalin or Xanax. I have filed complaints with CVS so many times I was at one point on a first name basis with their regional manager. Sponsors: If you are in a mental health slump, consider reaching out to a licensed professional to help. Better Help has a large counselor network and you can begin chatting with someone very quickly. Check out betterhelp.com/duff to get 10% off your first month. Skip the grocery store crowds and get healthy food and wellness products delivered straight to your door with Thrive Market. You can sort their website based on whatever your particular needs or diet might be. Their members-only prices save you money on each order and your membership also provides one to a family in need. Check out thrivemarket.com/duff to get a free gift with your trial membership. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 233: Rapid Fire Part 2 – Pandemic Alcoholism, All or Nothing Thinking, Bad Pharmacies, and More appeared first on Duff The Psych.
50 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 232: Rapid Fire Q&A – Sleep Apnea, Dating After Abuse, and More
Hello, everyone! Today’s episode is a less prepared version of Q&A than I usually do. The house was a little chaotic, so I took a microphone and recorder to a local park, had a seat, and spontaneously answered some of your questions. All of the questions from today’s episode come from the private Hardcore Self Help Facebook group. Here are the questions covered in this impromptu Q&A: What is a good way to balance self care and friendships when battling depression? How to actually let myself get out and date between a dysfunctional home ( just started ACA 3 months ago) and one abusive ex I feel like I have no inner tool to guide me to not make the same mistakes. And how to make rejection not about my self worth. What is your advice for someone dealing with chronic pain and a progressively debilitating physical disability? I have depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The pain and disability exacerbates my anxiety and depression. Some of the things that I know could help the depression and anxiety, I physically can’t do anymore. How do you work on your mental health and not want to give up when your own body seems like it is turning against you? I recently overheard a conversation about Sleep Apnea, Obstructive/ Central etc… and some likely Unknown symptoms such as, anxiety, asthma, cognitive issues, high blood pressure, neurological disorders. I would be interested in some discussion. [ Sponsors: BetterHelp is online counseling with a licensed professional counselor done securely online. You can choose from text-based messaging, weekly video, or phone sessions. Better Help has a wide range of expertise available and they make it easy to switch providers if you don’t hit it off with the person you are matched with. Head over to betterhelp.com/duff to get 10% off your first month. Green Chef is an awesome USDA certified organic meal box that delivers healthy meals with simple step-by-step instructions straight to your door. They have options for paleo, vegan, or simply balanced living. I really enjoyed making their Mozzarella Chicken and Linguine. For $80 off including free shipping, head over to greenchef.com/duff80 and use the coupon code duff80. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 232: Rapid Fire Q&A – Sleep Apnea, Dating After Abuse, and More appeared first on Duff The Psych.
30 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 231: A guided meditation to get you through 2020
Hello, friends. In this episode, I walk you through a calming meditation to help you get through the rest of the year. It has been designed to help you reconnect to the things that keep you going! There will be ad breaks in the main episode, but the full uninterrupted version is available for free here on the website. I hope you find it helpful. Ad-Free version https://www.duffthepsych.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/231-meditation.mp3 Today we are going to do a guided meditation. First, I want to introduce the frame and concept to you and then we will go through a meditation together. The point of this meditation is to help you get through the rest of the year. If you are encountering this after 2020, that’s okay. This still applies. We all need to reconnect to the things that keep us going. This year, it’s just extra relevant. First off, I want to congratulate you. You are doing a good job. Stop shaking your head. You are. Even if you are simply trying to make it through each day. You are doing the best you can right now. Trying to try counts. If you are struggling with balancing work or school, I see you. If you are juggling kids and worried every day about them growing up alright, I see you. If you find yourself facing familiar old demons because your normal everyday defensive have been worn down, I see you. We are in this together. We are all doing the best that we can in our own ways. That version of best might be different than the best that you were able to put out in the past. That’s okay. Everything is contextual. Things are different right now. Even if it’s not different for you in tangible ways. There are so many little aspects of the world and life that are just slightly askew. That’s absolutely enough on its own to make you feel off kilter. We have all collectively been going through some shit this year. So before we go any further, I want you to give the frustration, anger, and annoying a moment of attention. Think about the ways that this year has sucked. Think about the plans you had that needed to be adjusted, the picture of your life you didn’t get to have. It’s okay to be annoyed at that. You SHOULD be annoyed at that. It fucking sucks. In a moment we are going to take a deep breath together, but instead of breathing out slowly, I want you to make whatever guttural noise or swear word best expresses those feelings that you are connecting to. Let’s do it again. Really let it out. We are going to move toward more positive feelings, but that doesn’t mean these negative ones have to go away. We are going to keep kicking ass WHILE things also kinds suck majorly. One more time in… let it out. Good job. We have given those negative feelings a moment of recognition. That’s great. Since we are allowing that anger and frustration to be there, we can investigate a little further. I find that for most negative feelings, there is a positive flip side. Let’s imagine a scenario where you are angry at your spouse for never making time for you. You might be exhausted and downtrodden by the lack of consideration. Well, what’s the flip side of that? What’s the positive emotion that’s driving that pain? In other words, what do you NOT have that is making you feel so bad? In this case, the flip side might be a yearning for connection. It’s not about each little instance of your partner failing to consider you. It’s not about the dishes or making a plan for your birthday. It’s about the fact that you are desperately yearning for that connection for that love. This is a great way to reframe the situation without denying anything. Sometimes it’s not as helpful to work so hard at reducing negative emotions and negative experiences. Sometimes it can be even more useful to look at the flip side. Look at the positive experience that you are not getting. This is a goal. This is a target. This is something that you can breathe life into and work toward in whatever big or small ways you can. So, take a moment to reflect quietly within yourself. I will stay quiet for a few seconds, so if you need to reach over and pause this while you think, please do so. I’d like you to reflect on the frustrations that you’ve had this year. Which particular scenes or moments from the past year are coming up? What sort of negative emotions do they conjure up in you? Then ask yourself why? What is the flip side of these negative emotions? What is the positive that you are yearning for? What is the target? Please take a moment to reflect. Now that you have had a chance to reflect and feel this out, if there are more than one positive emotions that seem to represent the flip side of your anger and negative emotions, I’m going to ask you to pick just one. You can always come back to this meditation with a different one another time. This positive desire is going to be your goal. This is going to be your target and your guiding light. Don’t tell me what it is. You don’t even have to be able to articulate it out loud. But feel that desire and hold on to that. We are going to use it as we dive into the meditation. Let’s get into the meditation new. Before we begin – make sure you kind find yourself a comfortable position to stay in for a while. Feel free to shift positions and move around if you need to, but focus on being as still as works for you and your body. Let’s take a couple deep breaths. One more breath and this time, if you aren’t already close your eyes. Hold in your mind the desire that we found earlier. Notice how your mind and body react to this positive yearning. Do you see images or scenes from your life? Do you have words or feelings that come up? Be curious and notice them… This is your motivation source. This is what drives you. This is one of the things that keeps you pushing forward even though there is are voices internally and externally telling you not to. I want you to take a moment to take a few deep breaths again. Each time, I want you to find a visualization that represents strengthening this motivation source. Connecting more deeply with it. Maybe you are imaging it filling you up like light flooding your body. Maybe it’s a thread that gets woven together with another thread and another with each breath connecting you to this source of power. Breathe life into it. Fortify it. Breathe in and really pull that breath inward to your core. Let it fill you and fortify you the same way we are fortifying this link. Let it out slowly. Shake it out, loosen up. Settle back in. Now that we have bolstered that connection to our motivation, to our target, to our desire, I’d like you to reflect on how we can use this motivation. Imagine that you went to sleep tonight and when you woke up the next day, it was not the frustration driving you, but the positive urges that represent the flip side of that frustration. Imagine that you woke up and your well of motivation was full. That you were ready to act and move toward these values and desires. What would that looks like? How would your day be different? What would be the first thing that you notice in your day that serves as a hint that something has shifted? Take a breath and reflect on this. There is courage in each step. Even the small ones. Even if it’s setting yourself up and setting the stage. At the same time, at some point, we need to take action. You can’t just set the stage and hope motivation will find you. You need to act and find that motivation. Hold the positive target emotion that we’ve been using in the center of your mind. Imagine that it is a flashlight guiding your attention. Take a deep breath and see where the beam of that flashlight lands within your life. Perhaps this is your next step. This is the area that you need to take some action big or small. Draw from the fire of that motivating factor to push you just that extra inch. What step can you take? Things were not always so stuck for you. I have no moral judgment whatsoever about where you are now. I think it makes perfect sense. And at the same time we want to move forward. Think of a time when you were motivated. Imagine a time that you got lost in the flow of an activity or a project. No matter how big or small. You got in the zone and time flew by. Try to feel that sense of satisfaction you had. Maybe a little exhaustion in there as well, but definitely satisfaction. You were able to lose yourself for just that bit of time and work toward your goal. That feels good. Now here’s where it gets interesting. Take that feeling of satisfaction and connect a thread from that to your motivating force. Allow them to intermingle. Imagine the sense of satisfaction that you will have when you are moving in a direction consistent with your desires and values. When you are able to harness that motivation and use it to move. Take a few breaths and bask in how good that feels. That’s powerful. Let me share a little secret with you. Tonight, I felt very uninspired and unmotivated to create this meditation for you. I felt frustrated by that fact. I felt annoyed and mad at myself for not having something ready to go… for procrastinating a bit… for not having the sudden inspiration to whip something up at a moment’s notice. Why did I feel that way? What’s the positive of the flip side of that frustration? It’s care. I give a shit about you. I desperately want to craft something that can help move the needle just a tiny bit for you with the hope that any influence I have is just the lead domino in a long line that continues in a positive direction. That’s my desire. I want to make a small impact for you in a time that is so damn hard. So, instead of only ruminating on that frustration, I tried to connect to this motivator. When I got distracted from my work, I re-centered myself on that reminder and took the immediate next step. The next word, the next bullet point. And here we are. I think that this has been a really special way to connect with you and hopefully help a little bit. We got this, friends. It’s absolutely okay to feel difficult emotions. It’s okay to feel mad, let down, frustrated, and anything else that has popped up over the course of this year. There is a power in those frustrations because they represent the flip side of your aspirations. Connect to those aspirations. Borrow some of their power. Take that first step. Then the next one. I’m going to leave you to your own thoughts in a minute here. But before you go, I want you to do one last visualization for me. Take that positive emotion. The desire, the goal, the inspiration that we found earlier. Imagine that it’s a tiny glowing core in the center of your being. As you continue to take some nice breaths, I want each breath to fuel the intensity of that core. Allow it to grow and spread throughout your body. Allow it to fill you. Allow it to strengthen you and make you more powerful. Stoke the flames and build up the fire inside you. And when you are ready… get out there and take that first step. Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by BetterHelp and Acorn TV. BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that provides affordable and convenient access to professional counseling with a licensed psychologist. Right now you can get 10% off your first month of secure online counseling for being a listener of the HCSH Podcast! Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat and try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code duff when you sign up! Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 231: A guided meditation to get you through 2020 appeared first on Duff The Psych.
32 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 230: Distancing Yourself from Family & Grieving for a Much Loved Pet
Hello, friends! This is a Q&A episode with two super important and interesting listener questions relating to coping with grief after losing a much-loved support dog, and being able to successfully distance yourself emotionally from family. Question from Instagram: My dog was a support dog. I rescued her 6 years ago and she has been by my side ever since and has helped me immensely especially since my PTSD diagnosis. She recent passed away unexpectedly and now I am lost and don’t know how to move on. I can’t stop crying every time I think of her. Do you have any podcasts about grieving our fur babies? I’m sorry that you’ve experienced this. People fall all over the spectrum when it comes to personal connections to animals, but it’s clear that this was equivalent to a family member to you. So I’m very sorry for your loss. There’s never a good time or circumstance for it. I think you need to go easy on yourself here. You said that your dog “recently passed away unexpectedly”. That means that it was both abrupt and it didn’t happen long ago. Both of those are drivers for the sadness and despair that you are feeling. Let’s start with the fact that it was unexpected. While it will always hurt to lose a loved one, there is something to be said for expecting or suspecting it. It doesn’t make it easy, but you are able to start the grieving process sooner. You know that you will soon have to live in the context of a world without them. So the relationship that you had with them before dies first and you transition into a new relationship with the knowledge that they will be leaving the world soon. Like I said, not easy but you have the chance to start mentally preparing yourself and making that internal transition. When it comes out of left field, you don’t have that chance. One day you have this being that you love and rely on with you and one day you do not. You’re not supposed to know how to react to that. And it’s supposed to be HARD. I hate that I have to say this, but time will help. It will. That’s just how things work. For the immensity of the love that you had for this dog, it might take a good amount of time. Perhaps several months before you start to feel like you are capable of living without being constantly distraught at your loss. It could be less, it could be more, but time will blunt the edges of your pain. We sometimes hold onto the pain of loss as a reminder or as a way of honoring those who have passed, but allowing yourself to live your life does not mean that you are “moving on” from them. You aren’t being asked to move on from them and you aren’t being asked to act like nothing happened. Loss is an unfortunately part of life, but this may not be the first time and inevitably won’t be the last time that you experience it. One way or another, you will learn to live in the context of a world without your soul familiar. Now, I do want to make sure that I acknowledge the fact that you have PTSD. I don’t know exactly what your PTSD stems from and to what extent you have worked through the trauma. This may be the type of event that causes a resurgence in PTSD symptoms. If that’s the case, you might want to get in with some therapy sooner rather than later. To face this head-on and process this loss of yours so that it doesn’t become locked away as a traumatic memory. EMDR is the gold standard for this, which I have discussed in previous podcasts. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the claims that EMDR makes, but it does serve as a great framework for the type of work that does need to happen to process and traumatic memories. There are also other forms of therapy that are similar like trauma-focused CBT. The point is you don’t want to fall into a heavy pattern of avoidance that helps make the memory feel like it’s immediate and threatening. Like it can still harm you. You want it to be a sad memory, maybe even bittersweet with time, but it’s a memory. It’s something that plays back like a movie on a screen, not like an immersive VR experience. You may also have been leaning heavily on the pup as a coping mechanism, which is not a bad thing but now you are without them. So need to be aware that there may be gaps in your coping that you should look out for. Perhaps this means increasing the amount of coping strategies that you are practicing and using on your own. Perhaps this even means finding a new service pet. Can’t say exactly what the answer is for you, but just be aware that things might be harder in general because of both the loss itself and the loss of the help that you used to have. You’re likely going to have to hurt for a while without doing a lot to compensate for that hurt. Definitely lean into other people where ever you can. Family, friends, other supports. Don’t go through this alone. In time, you might want to think about what you can do on top of that hurt to help you grieve and help you live. I find that making something new if a great way to balance the scales. That can be art, a new relationship, a new hobby, a new character in a video game. Literally anything that involves creating something new. I’m sorry for your loss. You aren’t being unreasonable. It’s going to suck and you can also be okay. It takes time, which is just part of it. But have confidence that this pain won’t sting so bad in the future and that doesn’t mean that you will forget them. How do you emotionally distance from family without completely cutting them out of our life? I’m currently in therapy for trauma related to childhood sexual abuse and realizing the many ways my parents were unable to provide a healthy environment for healing…and still dont. It’s so hard for me to feel like I’m making progress while still having expectations/ needs of them that always end in frustration and disappointment. I know i cannot make them change/apologize/acknowledge the role they played…so how do I detach and not want it so badly? Before answering this question, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that I’ve been answering a lot of questions that are either directly or indirectly tied to trauma lately. While I hope this doesn’t make my content seem repetitive, I also think that it’s important to recognize that this is also a reflection of how prevalent trauma is. Allow it to be a reminder to you that you have no idea what someone has been through. So, the question here – you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and part of what compounded the difficulty of experiencing something like that was the fact that your parents could not provide a supportive environment for you to heal. I’m glad that you are able to recognize that fact now. Seeing your parent’s shortcomings is difficult, but also valuable information. It’s easy to blame yourself for a lot, especially when trauma is involved. And while I don’t think that you need to “blame” anyone, it is so helpful and healthy to come to an understanding about the factors at play that have made things so hard for you. I talked about grieving in the last question and I think that it also applies here. This is one of those situations where you didn’t lose someone, but you did lose the idyllic version of your life where you could rely on your parents to keep you safe. That SUCKS. It goes against our nature as human mammals. We are made to be reliant on caregivers and form attachments to them. So when they are unable to provide for our needs, especially when it comes to safety, it can really screw with your head. As a child, you don’t really know how to make sense of it. You may have a sense that something is off, but not understand exactly what or who’s fault it is. As you grow and develop, you can gain more perspective both from your own self and from others around you and that helps you to understand their shortcomings. I’m not sure how old you are, so it’s hard to know how much you need to rely on your parents. You said that you still have expectations and needs of them. Maybe this is primarily financially. I understand that it can be hard feeling like you’re on the hook and beholden to them. That keeps you in a sort of power dynamic. It really sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders though. I think that you can find a way to get what you can from them while recognizing the things that they are unable to provide for you and the ways that you may need to be careful around them, as they might have some harmful tendencies. You will learn in time to become your own internal parent. There is a lot of work that can be done in therapy toward that end, so I’m happy that you are in therapy. You’re allowed to wish that you had parents who can provide you with the environment that you yearn for. That’s just not the reality of the situation right now. The therapist that you work with has what we call “unconditional positive regard” for you. That means that they are on your team no matter what. They are there for you and they accept/support you. That doesn’t mean that they agree with everything that you do. They may challenge you. They may not approve of certain things. But they still have that unconditional positive regard for you. You don’t necessarily need to have positive regard for someone that harms you. But I see you saying that you still want to have a relationship with them. You can gain some perspective about the ways that they are and are not healthy for you and let that guide your behaviors. They will always be your parents but you don’t have to rely on them or accept certain aspects of their behavior. If they are not willing to deal with that – that’s on them. If you haven’t already, doing something like writing a letter to them that you don’t plan on giving to them could be very helpful. Same applies to role-playing a conversation with them with a friend. Or just talking out loud to yourself. You are correct that you can’t make them apologize or take responsibility for things. But you can express and feel out those desires on your own. There is processing to be done there. Perhaps at some point you realize that it is important for you that they take responsibility. That you are unwilling to continue a relationship with them if they can’t acknowledge their part. That’s certainly your right and if that’s the case you may need to form a more firm boundary. But right now it sounds like you are more in the realm of trying to come to these internal realizations and I think you are absolutely on the right track for doing that. Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by BetterHelp and Elite CBD. BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that provides affordable and convenient access to professional counseling with a licensed psychologist. Right now you can get 10% off your first month of secure online counseling for being a listener of the HCSH Podcast! EliteMD CBD produces high-quality CBD products that have been doctor-developed and recommended. Their CBD Sleep Tinctures are carefully crafted with concentrated doses of pure hemp CBD oil that delivers incredible results. As a special offer for listeners of the podcast, Elite MD is offering 20% off, and shipping is 100% free! Head to elitemdcbd.com/sleep and use the offer code HARDCORE20 for the extra 20% off and the free shipping. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 230: Distancing Yourself from Family & Grieving for a Much Loved Pet appeared first on Duff The Psych.
31 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 229: Never Setting Boundaries & How Much Better is Enough?
Hello, friends. This is a super interesting Q&A which answers two important listener questions. The first relates to never setting personal boundaries, putting everyone first before yourself, and the second tackles the difficult question, how much better is enough? I’ve noticed that all descriptions of anxiety include the element of ‘rudeness’ – that people might seem rude, they might be irritable. I also get irritable and impatient, but a friend of mine who has also struggled with anxiety, has told me that I am probably one of the few people she knows who are in a very bad state, but still keep on thinking how to be nice to people because I am scared of hurting them and I constantly take care of others first, then of myself, if I get to that point at all. This, in turn, makes me even more anxious because I cannot physically take care of everybody and I don’t put any boundaries. But maybe it is just in my personality, instead of in my anxiety, to want to help and never say ‘no’. Maybe in this case only the pope can help. I don’t know if you have spoken about this in your podcast, but I rarely see anxiety pages mentioning the opposite of seeming rude – never putting boundaries and letting everybody too close, to the point where you can’t push them away if they require too much. So my suggestion could be interpreted as raising awareness to that type of people? But again – what do I know, maybe it is not part of struggling with anxiety. Good question. Thanks for bringing this up. This is actually very common. Basically you are saying that when you hear descriptions of anxiety, it often involves things like irritation, agitation, anger, or rudeness. But you experience the opposite side as well where you become very preoccupied with pleasing and taking care of others, which causes problems of their own. You can absolutely have both, but just know that the 2nd one that you described is very common as well. I think when people refer to meanness and rudeness in anxiety, it’s often a misinterpretation of the anxious person’s behaviors. For instance, if they are too nervous to engage in small talk, they may come off as cold. If they are having difficulties that cause them to skip out on events, that could definitely be construed as rude. When someone is worked up because they are on the verge or having a full-blown panic attack, they can definitely come off as a bit bristly or agitated. Having anxiety doesn’t magically turn you into a dick. It just makes it harder to operate in the world the way that people without anxiety do. But as I said, being overly concerned about NOT hurting other people is also a common feature in anxiety. Many people with anxiety are also very perfectionistic and tend to be down on themselves for what they perceive are failures. Therefore, there is a lot of impression management that happens. In other words, since you’re so paranoid about doing something wrong and implicating someone else, you either freeze up or work so hard to try to be sure that doesn’t happen. Allowing boundary violations to happen is also quite common, as you mentioned for yourself. Anxiety causes you to have a heightened sense of risk and to underestimate your coping abilities if something negative were to happen. This leads to avoidance. Your anxiety convinces you that you shouldn’t do things because they are too risky and you have little confidence in your ability to handle the negative results that you are imagining. This avoidance can absolutely be in the form of avoiding conflict. I guess even more than avoiding direct conflict, it can make you avoid things that you fear might lead to a conflict and it can make you interpret things as conflict that in reality are just normal/necessary interactions. I’m sure you can see how being so worried about coming across as mean and trying your hardest to avoid any type of conflict because it feels so threatening could lead you to develop some loose boundaries. You might let people get away with things or treat you in ways that you know you shouldn’t because you don’t want to be the bag guy and you don’t want to hurt anybody else. You just shrink back and let it happen. I won’t share details, but I’m actually working with someone in therapy with a situation like this. The person doesn’t have a long history of anxiety, but letting boundaries get out of hand in the workplace due to considering other people’s feelings too much has led them to a situation where they are now expected to do everything for everyone else and they are being mistreated by people in their workplace. This caused the person to develop full-on generalized anxiety and specific anxiety about going to work. If you’re not on my email list, I definitely suggest that you get on there. I try to share something inspirational or interesting at the beginning of each week. In this week’s email, I talked about boundaries. Boundaries can be tough to enforce, especially when you get to a place where the boundaries have already become super loose and the expectation is that you will do anything to make sure that people aren’t upset at you. I think that this is one area where enlisting the help of outside sources can be helpful. Since you have a distorted view of these social situations due to your anxiety, it can be very helpful to have someone on the outside to help you notice areas where you might no be treating yourself fairly. Interestingly, right as I was writing this outline, I checked my phone and Shira Lazar from What’s Trending etc. posted a reel on Instagram that said “Empathy without boundaries is self-destructive. Empathy with boundaries is compassionate.” Apparently, I’m not the only one that’s been thinking about this lately. But yeah, so enlisting the help of family or friends that you trust to keep you accountable is a good idea. Obviously, therapy is a very good option here as well. They can help you to rein in the self-defeating and scary thoughts that you might have about social situations that feed the avoidance of conflict and ultimately result in poor boundaries. You may also try to do some internal work to recognize that by just trying to people please, avoid conflict, and say yes to everything that you are not actually being fair to other people. It is in an attempt to be nice, but you are giving them a less authentic version of yourself, and you are setting them up with unrealistic expectations. Trying to be perfect and help everyone is a good way to run yourself so ragged that you can’t give anyone the kind of care that you would actually like to give them. It can be hard to pull yourself out of a situation like this because it often builds up gradually over time, but if you take it one step at a time, get some help where you need it, and practice having compassion with yourself, you can definitely improve your ability to stand up for yourself. I am 25 years old. I was diagnosed with depression when I was young and dealt with it most of my life. In college, I became aware that I also have been dealing with anxiety most of my life as well. My mental health reached its lowest point in my senior year of college when life just happened to send me the deaths of 7 loved ones individually over the course of 9 months. After graduating I dealt with severe depression for 3 months before I was even able to talk to anyone about it. To be honest I barely got out of bed those 3 months. I am happy to say that with the help of my family and loved ones I am now much better. I have moved into my own place, I have a job I love, and I hope to be heading to grad school for my career. Question The question I have been struggling with is “How much better is enough?” It feels like I have always had anxiety and depression and I have come to love the resilient parts of me that have grown around living life through that. I know I will never be neurotypical but it is hard to tell what feelings are concerning signs I am heading back to that dark place, what are just parts of me being me, and what are normal feelings of everyday life (or as every day as we can get in 2020). I would love to hear any thoughts you have. Once again thank you for all you do to make the world easier for people with mental health issues. Wow what terrible circumstances you’ve had to endure. I don’t blame you at all for having such a difficult time after your senior year. I think anybody would and its a testament to your strength that you were able to make so much progress and accept help to get to where you are now. Proud of you. This is a great question and one that a lot of people eventually think about. The awesome part about having this difficult question is that it is a sign that you’ve improved or grown so much. I’m sure the you from senior year would have never believed that in the future you would feel safe enough to be asking a question like this. I think what you’ve been through is a massive proof of concept. That you have the strength and the creativity to get through just about the worst situations. Not all of life is going to be that intense and terrible. But if it does get to that point, you have proved to yourself that you are able to draw together the resource and put in the work over time to survive it and improve your situation. Your question sounds like it is coming from a place of balance and awareness. There are some people who want to be “better” so badly that they kind of fool themselves into thinking that they already are. I definitely don’t get that sense here. You are basically saying that you recognize you have tendencies toward depression that will likely be longstanding patterns that you need to watch out for. You have been able to move forward with your life in spite of these tendencies and in the worst sorts of situations, you have eventually been able to get through. To me that sounds super realistic. And it makes me feel confident that you would be able to recognize the need to bring in help and really intervene with your situation if it were to come to that in the future. I think that maybe one way to better learn those signs that you want to look out for is to dedicate some time and effort to gathering information. Perhaps you could talk with people that knew you well during your heavy periods of depression and ask them what they noticed in you that, looking back, was a sign that things were not moving in a good direction. If you had any journals, workbooks, or other written material that you created at those times, it would also probably be helpful to review them. To remind yourself what sort of distorted thoughts you might have had or what your daily experience was like. This would allow you to better understand some of the things that seemed to be indicators of slipping into that “dark place”. This is hypothetical, but for some people, it might be that they need to be mindful when they stop calling their family regularly, when they start drinking more on weekdays, when their eating starts to get out of control, or when they start to devote less and less time to their hobbies. You can definitely have self-efficacy without having an inflated sense of self-esteem. You don’t have to think that you’re an amazing person and feel special compared to other people. But you can learn to have confidence in your ability to adapt and get through things. You won’t always do everything right, but you can adjust if things go wrong. You’ve made it through every single hardest experience you’ve ever had. There truly is no “normal”. So you need to take your personal sense of wellness into account. It’s kind of like when you are using a 0-10 scale to rate pain. If you are someone that lives with chronic pain and essentially will for the rest of your life, a constant 5/10 to you is probably pretty chill. But if I were to be suddenly transported into your body, that same level of pain would probably be considered an 8 or 9 to me. So it comes down to how you are able to tolerate your internal experience and your emotions. You might still be pessimistic and not exactly thing the world of yourself, but if you are basically accepting of this and not being held back in the important areas of your life, I’d say that you are doing pretty good. So gather some information, learn some lessons from your past, and have confidence in your ability to adapt if you need to. Get some outside perspectives when you can to make sure that you are on the right track. And you might even consider writing yourself a little plan to get back on track if you do find that you’re starting to inch toward that black hole of severe depression again. Thank you for the awesome question! Sponsor: This episode of Hardcore Self Help is sponsored by Thrive Market and Orgain. Thrive Market is an online membership-based market on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. They offer the highest quality, healthy and sustainable products, delivered to your door at member-only prices. Not only do they offer great value, but for every paid membership Thrive Market provides a free one for someone in need. Right now, Thrive Market are offering listeners of the Hardcore Self Help Podcast a free gift of your choosing, up to $24 in value, if you join today. To claim, just head to thrivemarket.com/duff and start your risk-free membership. Orgain produces all kinds of organic products to fit your active lifestyle while offering the best clean products to help keep you healthy and maximize your nutrition. Check out tryorgain.com/duff for 20% off your first order of awesome organize protein, nutritional shakes, and other products to keep you healthy and in shape. Thanks for Listening! If you know someone else who might benefit from today’s show, please do share it with them. Send them a link or shoot over a screenshot, and share it on social media to show your support – you never know who needs to hear this type of information. Show request? Got a topic or a guest you’d like to appear on the show? Or interested in having Duff answer a question on the podcast? Please get in touch! Email Duff and maybe you’ll hear it on a future episode! Want to help out the show and Duff the Psych? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Leave a podcast review on iTunes. These reviews really help Duff reach potential listeners, and he appreciates every one! Share the show on Facebook or Twitter. You can also buy Duff a cup of coffee, which helps fuel the energy that goes straight back into creating more content for YOU! The post Episode 229: Never Setting Boundaries & How Much Better is Enough? appeared first on Duff The Psych.
25 minutes | 5 months ago
Bonus Episode: Top Mental Health Tools with Himalaya
Hello, all! Bringing you a little bonus episode today. I recently teamed up with Himalaya to create a full audio course all about top mental health tools that you can use to improve your life. Check out himalaya.com/duff and use promo code DUFF for your first 14 days free! Whether you want to improve your emotional intelligence, your critical thinking skills, or you just want to level up in your career, Himalaya Learning offers the best audio educational experience, designed to inspire your ambition and build your skills on the go. Award-winning podcaster Tim Ferriss, marketing guru Seth Godin,the New York Times bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, Tesla CEO and entrepreneur Elon Musk, and “Divorce Court” judge Lynn Toler, are just a few among the 150+ world-class instructors ranging from Ivy League professors to Nobel Prize winners featured on the platform, in partnership with Big Think and other thought leaders. With an extensive library of audio courses designed to fuel your personal and professional growth, Himalaya Learning unlocks the world’s greatest minds and brings their priceless wisdom and insights straight to your ears. The post Bonus Episode: Top Mental Health Tools with Himalaya appeared first on Duff The Psych.
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